Very happy! Harry Broad and my book ‘Molesworth – Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station’ has won the Booksellers Choice award at the prestiguous national NZ Post book awards.
Molesworth Book wins prestigous award, NZ Post Book Awards 2014 (photo: Mark Tantrum)
On stage to accept the award (on behalf of Harry Broad too), it struck me how wearing a suit and tie here was about as far away from a horseback on the Kaikoura Ranges in sleet and snow mustering cattle with the young stockmen; an irony that felt good.
I’d like to thank Nielsen Book Services and New Zealand Post for their support of the award. Department of Conservation and Landcorp for supporting the work Harry and I did. Jim and Tracey Ward, as managers of Molesworth, they gave us tremendous access and freedom to the Station – I’m sure letting a couple of ‘North Island townies’ loose on the property was a punt, so thank you. Also, the young stockmen that I worked alongside were great company and willing helpers to make things work – especially helping to coax a greenhorn horse rider into a horse rider of sorts – thank you. Robbie Burton worked passionately to make Molesworth a title to be proud of. Thank you Robbie, to you and your team at Craig Potton Publishing, I’ll be forever grateful for your work.
Thanks to readers and buyers. We’ve sold a tremendous number of books – in fact reprinting 3 times in a month, and that’s remarkable for New Zealand. Your support is fantastic and humbling. Clearly Molesworth connects deeply to the Kiwi pysche – and long may it I say.
Lastly, I’ve saved special thanks to all the booksellers that have stocked and supported our book. You are the ones that work at the interface with book buyers, and truly understand books and what people want. As a colleague in the industry said:
“What a marvellous achievement, congratulations! The Booksellers Choice Award is the best one to win as it is a reflection of consumer awareness, from the people who buy and sell books, not just the view of the judges for any one year.”
That is why the award means so much to me.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize) was in our category, so it was a tremendous surprise to win, and underlines what a tremendous job Robbie Burton (above right) and his team at Craig Potton Publishing did to create Harry’s and my work into something of weight and substance. That’s some competition to weather!
Of course, Eleanor was very gracious in defeat by Molesworth I should add. She has had a tremendous year, and collected awards on the night too. It was great to spend time celebrating with her – clearly she has been able to keep her feet on the ground despite her incredible win on the world stage.
Eleanor Catton, Elise Grange, Rob Suisted
If you’d like to experience more of Molesworth, then have a go with these:
After a 3 year gestation, our Molesworth Station Book is done – one of the most satisfying book projects so far.
Harry Broad is the author, and I’ve produced the photos. It’s been an incredible adventure.
Here’s an interesting behind the scenes video I shot while filming the unique Robinson Saddle muster (caution; it contains hardwork, a greenhorn learning to ride, some skinny dipping, some adventure, and a few laughs. But, mostly it contains spectacular scenery and a rare glimpse into a unique high-country lifestyle and job):
Special thanks to Landcorp Farming Ltd, Department of Conservation, the managers of Molesworth (Jim and Tracey Ward), Craig Potton Publishing, everyone who has featured in the book, and especially the many people who worked hard for us to make the project successful. Thank you.
Just had an enjoyable Radio New Zealand interview with Harry Broad and Kathryn Ryan. You can listen here to Harry share some wonderful stories he’s uncovered through his research (I never get sick Harry’s colourful telling), and I attempt using words to explain my visual portrayal of the Station and experiences.
MOLESWORTH STATION, stories from New Zealand’s largest high country station, has been a 2 1/2 year journey with author Harry Broad, attempting to create a book that does Molesworth Station justice. At 500,000 acres the station is bigger than Stewart Island, and contains one of NZ’s biggest cattle herds. Here’s the first glimpse of the cover of the book, due for September release.
The name of Molesworth has huge national recognition, not only because it is our largest high-country station, but also because of the remarkable story of how, from the early 1940s, the legendary manager Bill Chisholm rebuilt a ruined landscape and turned it into a flourishing and profitable farm. Molesworth covers an area greater than Stewart Island, and is in every sense a working farm, home to one of the country’s largest cattle herds… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
“You should come on the May autumn muster to Lake McRae.” said Jim Ward, Manager of Molesworth high country Station.
What an invitation; for those that know Molesworth Station you’ll understand the significance of such an invite! For those that know Lake McRae (see map at bottom), many will regard this as a holy land of sorts. To join in on the annual cattle muster to push 400 cattle over the Inland Kaikoura Ranges to their traditional winter pastures is epic. Not only is it regarded as one of the highest cattle musters in the world (at over 1400m/4700ft), but it’s also one of the most remote seldom visited spots in New Zealand. With three stockmen & horses involved, and small backcountry hut, it’s also a very few lucky folks that have ever participated in this 100 year tradition. More folks have climbed Everest than been here. This is not a commercial trip, but a unique rare opportunity to join the stockmen on part of their annual work programme in the high country.
For the last 18 months I’ve been working on a book about this historic high country station with Harry Broad. Lance McCaskill wrote a seminal book about the first 50 years of Molesworth history. We’re bringing the history of this fascinating iconic high country run up to date. It’s New Zealand’s largest farm at 500,000 acres and sits nestled amongst mountain ranges between Blenheim, Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura.
Back at my office in Wellington, Nina, my Business Manager, was excited. She’d grown up with horses and rode professionally back in Sweden. On weekends she trains riders and horses. You will be fine, I’ll teach you she said.
Learning: my horse riding crash course on Red. Photo & teaching by Nina Tötterman
So started a wonderful bi weekly programme designed to advance me from newbie to competent horse rider in less than a month, but most importantly to toughen up my softer spots. Each Tuesday and Thursday we shut the office at noon, headed for Wainuiomata and climbed on horses. My third lesson as cantering bareback. They pushed me hard to learn on the crash course but I’m very grateful now. Luckily I apparently picked things up fast, learning I think more about animal behaviour and psychology than staying on Red, Ray, or Teddy, the three boys I learnt to ride on. Bruce and Kelly’s property in Wainuiomata had a great variety of steep hills and trails to explore between flat work. Things started to arch and hurt in places you’d normally only see with a mirror; apparently a sign you’re doing it right. Weird that.
Nina, my Bus. Mgr & horse whisperer controlling an over excited high performance F1 hot blooded 'Shaka'
One Sunday night the phone went; it’s Jim. “Can you get down tomorrow? We’re bringing it forward due to weather”. I hurriedly finished my GST tax return, a quick pack and assemblage of equipment and I was on the ferry heading for the South Island.
I arrived late evening, got a bit of gear organised, hit the hay around midnight, to be up a 4.30am for breakfast with Jim & Tracey and the three stockmen that I’d be riding with for the next 3 days, Andy McLachlan, Cory Hollister and Tom O’Sullivan. Nine months before I’d met these guys on their first week on Station as they learnt horse shoeing from visiting farriers so they could look after their horses in the remote out stations through the year (a skill we’d rely on later…
I’ve been photographing a book about Molesworth Station; New Zealand’s largest station at 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres!).
The dramatic changes in landscapes, colours and seasons are imperceptible to our human time scale. I’ve just compared 3 photos taken 5 months apart and watched the richness of colour fade out to a stark reality of a barren winter landscape. Beautiful.
Molesworth Station seasonal contrast. Click to enlarge
Finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards, AND Finalist in the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year Awards in the same week. Very proud about that. Please give us a vote in the Public choice awards NZ Post Book Awards UPDATE: We WON! Have a look
NZ National Fieldays is the largest annual farming and agricultural trade show in New Zealand, and maybe the Southern Hemisphere.
Every year at Mystery Creek, Waikato, hosts over 1000 exhibitors and around 120,000 pairs of boots over a 4 day event (and presumably, the occasional dedicated pair of heels).
It has a rich history and tradition for over 45 years now (http://www.fieldays.co.nz/factandhistory ), and prizes are awarded to the best exhibitions. We have a strong connection supplying large high quality image files to exhibitors.
Things have been really busy since returning from Antarctica; I’ve been a little remiss on updates amongst the exciting jobs.
I’m working on three new books at the moment. One book is on a well known high country station which I’m really enjoying. I had another visit last week and again met great people, great scenery and it was nice to photograph hard working people in dusty dry conditions; hard on photo gear, but good atmosphere. Here’s an image that evokes one of the mornings with the stockmen.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the Bush’s of Bush’s Honey, Blenheim. They’ve been beekeepers since 1916, and are very nice folks – I’ll be buying their honey from Moore Wilson’s from now on. They put me in a bee suit to take some photos of working their hives. They’ve developed their craft without the use of smoke to calm the bees, necessary in a very high fire hazard zone in the high country. Fine for them, but I soon discovered that bees (when there are millions of angry ones) are experts at exploiting weaknesses. If I put my camera too close to my eyes they could sting through the veil mesh, and after 2 hours their tally was 4 stings to my face. No probs at the time, all part of this job. But, a day later I was feeling very sorry for myself. An extremely swollen face was testament to the poor lymphatic drainage abilities of our faces; I was the elephant man incarnate and scaring small children and some adults. I was unrecognisable! I’d post a photo here, but seriously it’s not good for PR. Thankfully the swelling has pretty much left now after a week, and I found out that if I was allergic to bees I wouldn’t be here to write this. It was surprisingly extreme photography, very exciting with hundreds of bees smashing into the body aand face mesh, while trying to take photos. I now understand why the Bush’s take safety so seriously. Thanks for the amazing experience guys – and the honey sandwiches!
Photographing the Bush boys collecting honey. An extreme exercise in photography. Click for larger photo
I’ve also been working up the Whanganui River, with a spot of walking, jetboating and canoeing with Bridge to Nowhere tours. A great place somewhat off the beaten track, and some great images. A highlight was calling into the old convent at Jerusalum near Pipiriki early one morning. Such a peaceful place with sun forcing through the river fog on a windless morning, surrounded by trees groaning under the weight of ripening fruit. A little paradise.
Some nice news this week. My book Majestic New Zealand justwon runner up in the Whitcoulls pictorial book of the year awards at the Travcom conference. Simon Mcmanus (VP at Travcom) kindly let me know that the judges said it was very close to judge. So, I’m proud about that, and grateful to Travcom and Whitcoulls. The book is available signed via my website bookstore and here’s a short youtube clip of the book. Sorry about the music, but I’m a photographer….
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