NZ’s Country Calendar TV show is the 2nd oldest TV programme in the world after Coro Street.
It was an honour to be commissioned to photograph the official 50th anniversary book to commemorate the milestone for TVNZ. It’s been a full on 6 month photographic journey, twice around NZ, poking my nose into so many interesting stories, and meeting lots of passionate interesting people around NZ.
Firstly, if you haven’t got a copy of this iconic book, get yourself along to my publisher and order a copy – you won’t be disappointed. I’m very proud of the quality of the photos created to tell each of 15 stories, and Matt Philp’s writing style is brilliant at capturing the tales. Here are a few favourites from the many images
Georgie & Scott Archibold drafting sheep while kids Annabelle and Harrison look on, French Pass, Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough (54249QF00)
Georgie and Scott Archibold at French Pass. D’Urville Island behind, where Georgie grew up. A very special place for her, French Pass, Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough (54259QF00)
Georgie and Scott Archibold preparing lamb carcasses. Four year old son Harrison is a keen helper, French Pass, Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough (54262QF00)
James Murray (station manager) on autumn merino muster top beat (at 1800m) above the Shotover Valley headwaters. Lochnagar behind, Branches Station, Shotover Valley, Queenstown Lakes (54422QF00)
Mustering team heading upriver to begin the autumn merino muster. Horses, musterer’s and dog team crossing the upper Shotover River. James Murray, station manager, at right, Branches Station, Shotover Valley, Queenstown Lakes (54411QF00)
Stu Muir overlooking his family farm and beloved Waikato River, from the ‘eco-lodge’ they’ve built for others to enjoy, Aka Aka, Franklin (54042QF00)
Stu Muir working with Tangata Whenua, and researchers to recover a 500 year old waka for restoration. Stu is fluent in Te Reo, and well respected. Numerous toanga are found by him, Aka Aka, Franklin (54052QF00)
Stu Muir and Kim Jobson, netting pest Koi Carp fish from the Waikato River wetland, with kids Hazel and Sandy, Aka Aka, Franklin (54057QF00)
Hunters looking out over Makapua Station at end of the day from the Hunter’s Camp. Colin and Marg Baynes at right, Wairoa, Wairoa (54074QF00)
Hard Yakka. Colin and Marg Baynes taking a break from clearing scrub on Makapua Station, in the rain and mud, Wairoa, Wairoa (54083QF00)
Marg Baynes & daughter Ingrid Smith (left) set a world shearing record together in 2009. Here tuning gear, with champion shearer and husband Rowland Smith behind, Wairoa, Wairoa (54095QF00)
Deep drainage lysimeter facility to research nitrogen leaching established by Taupo Beef and Landcare Research. Dr Malcolm McLeod and Mike Barton taking samples, Tihoi, Western Lake Taupo, Taupo (54102QF00)
Clean water! Mike Barton of Taupo Beef enjoys trout fishing in Lake Taupo. Low nitrogen caps seek to protect water quality, vital to recreational activities on Lake Taupo, Waihaha, Lake Taupo, Taupo (54105RJ00)
Matt Newton. Helicopter Pilot, Farmer. Landing on a wet, late night, mission, Urenui, New Plymouth (54128QF00)
Matt Newton’s family after a successful hunt for Lillian’s goat curry. Lillian, Matt, Gabriel and Kinley, Urenui, New Plymouth (54157QF00)
Hikoi Te Riaki at home with his wife Tamzyn, at home with children. Mt Ruapehu, or ‘Koro’ as his descendants call him, stands prominently in front of their home, Ohakune, Ruapehu (54184QF00)
Atihau farm school cadet Kararaina Haami learning sheep drenching while tutor Whetu Mareikura looks on. Te Pa Station, Ohakune, Ruapehu (54195QF00)
The Matthews Family of Waiorongomai Station. 170+ year connection. ‘Here to Stay’ – time passes while they stand. Josh, Charlie, Karla, Greta and William, Waiorongomai, South Wairarapa (54224QF00)
Charlie Matthews with a Speckle Park bull, a breed Waiorongomai helped bring to NZ. Amongst cabbage trees, a feature of Waiorongomai, Waiorongomai, South Wairarapa (54230QF00)
Doug Avery climbing dry drought parched hills in the lowest rainfall area in NZ, beside Lake Grassmere, the southern most evaporative saltworks in the world. Bonavaree Farm, Seddon, Lake Grassmere, Marlborough (54280QF00)
Pitt Island wild sheep ram, farmed organically, on Banks Peninsula, by Roger Beattie, for their fleece, easy care and resilience, Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City (54321QF00)
Roger Belton (founder of Southern Clams Ltd) checking Littleneck clams (Austrovenus stutchburyi) harvested from Blueskin Bay, on a pre-dawn start dictated by tides, Dunedin, Dunedin City (54334QF00)
Lois Mills, matriarch/founder of Rippon (with husband Rolfe), feeds everyone during harvest from rammed earth home built by Rolfe. Grand daughter Harriet helping, Rippon, Wanaka, Queenstown Lakes (54367QF00)
Stone fruit orchards and grape vines at Blackmans on an autumn morning with mist over the Clutha (Mata-Au) River and Clyde beyond. Hinton’s orchard in front. Aerial view, Earnscleugh, Alexandra, Central Otago (54382GH00)
Tony Muollo, with father Carlo, brother Dion and nephew Josh, share a laugh while working on fishing equipment. All involved with the fishing industry, Wellington, Wellington City (54434QF00)
Calvin Muollo throws grapple with pinpoint accuracy, to snare the cray pot floats in Cook Strait. Skipper Tony Muollo and Brad Perkins look on. Missing the throw can draw great ridicule, Cook Strait, Wellington City (54439QF00)
Sam and Emily Welch, shearing on their home stand, under a rimu tree, Waikaretu Valley, Franklin (54448QF00)
Emily and Sam Welch in their vegetable garden with kids, Addison, Johnny, Eric and Eli (oldest to youngest), Waikaretu Valley, Franklin (54474QF00)
The job wasn’t easy – turning up to live with complete strangers 24/7 for up to a week, while seeking their confidence to document their stories and poke a camera into their lives. It was stressful for them and me, but without exception everyone was incredibly hospitable and obliging which allowed me to tease out their stories and capture it within 8-10 frames.
Each image had to earn it’s spot, and often illustrate at least 2 concepts. Such as the photo below, it needed to be a portrait, talk of wetland restoration and Stu’s Kaitiaki role and his love of whitebaiting. It took some doing: Stu Muir runs a dairy farm, but is passionate about wetland restoration in the Waikato River Delta. This is what I came up with:And here’s how it was done – 2 days of planning/executing, screening water flow, and a lot of time coaxing shy whitebait within 50mm of my wide angle lens (the little guys take fright at their reflections and the tiniest vibration), while trying to hold a punt in the current (with 10mm free board), and keep the good natured Stu Muir from getting too bored. It was a success and a frame I’m proud of.
We’ve added 2 new titles to a successful seven book series with New Holland Publishers. The series has been well supported by book sellers and educational institutions and have been great fun to produce.
Early reviews are looking good so they should be great additions, given that the other books have already had multiple reprints. Dr Sven Schroeder wrote text for Historic Places of New Zealand book, and Alison Dench took care of the High Country in New Zealand title. Thank you to both of you, and to New Holland for creating the great new additions. Find them in all local bookshops.
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 > > >
Just had my 10th and 11th books hit the book shops; very satisfying to see them arrive.
Thoroughly enjoyed a RadioLive interview with Graeme Hill. Have a listen here for why Triffids were mentioned in the interview about NZ flowers, why NZ flowers are mostly white in colour, and the parasitic native orchid that gets its life from sucking it out of other plants:
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….
Recently we launched my latest book, Majestic New Zealand, in Conservation House, Wellington, NZ. The Director-General of Conservation, Al Morrison, kindly did the honours and hosted the evening.
Just prior to his speech, Terri Ripeka Crawford and Mere Boynton performed a completely impromtu song and dance performance of ‘Te Kokako’ – a composition by the late Hirini Melbourne, in honour of my book. I want to share this with you.
It was amazing, completely unexpected, very spiritual and moving for people (yes, we saw tears). For me it was a great honour and a moment of complete presence and clarity in the evening which created good memories. Thank you very much to both of you. I hope my blog readers will enjoy watching the performance, as we did.
I’ve just been interviewed by Graeme Hill on RadioLive for EnviroNews, about my new book Majestic New Zealand, recent adventures, life and a bit of philosphy. Click here if you missed it live and would like a listen.
Update 22 Jan 2010: We now have signed copies of Majestic New Zealand available for supporters. If you’d like to consider a copy, have a look here.
We’ve had a busy week on publicity with radio, press and TV interviews which has been great.
National book stores are stocking it. Paper Plus Group has it in most shops now, and Borders and Whitcoulls have good stocks. Also, in Wellington, you’ll find it in the Te Papa Store.
We’ve just had this great review in from Fish & Game Magazine:
“Rob Suisted is one of New Zealand’s premier wildlife and scenic photographers and his latest book Majestic New Zealand (New Holland, RRP $59.99) confirms his place among the elite. This book is a portrait of four major themes in the landscape; our statuesque mountains and volcanoes, stately rivers and lakes, the ever-changing coast, and our fertile farmland. A collection of 144 pages of sublime photos, Suisted’s book is supplemented with quality text by award winning travel writer and photographer Liz Light. It makes a wonderful coffee table addition for anglers, hunters, and, oh yes, even dairy farmers – three groups, which above all, need to understand the majesty of our environment and the need to take care of it.” Issue 66 Fish and Game Magazine.
Update 22 Jan 2010: We now have signed copies of Majestic New Zealand available for supporters. If you’d like to consider a copy, have a look here.
Well, printing is finished and we’re counting down until bookshop release date 9th November 2009. I couldn’t find a good reason not to share the cover with you. So here it is:
Update: Internal pages added to view below.
I’m really proud of this book – my seventh to date. This one is key – it’s my heartfelt work and showcases favourite places and images. Click for a large view. I’ll give you a sneek at some pages shortly if you want.
I have a hope, and tiny suspicion, that it’s going to make a few Kiwis teary eyed. Actually this arrived 2 minutes ago from Kara of Herkimer Coffee in Seattle when I showed her last week:
“Thanks so much for sharing your book with me. Ian and I were taking a look. This is a must, your pics are ah-mazing! We were about in tears, oh the beauty!..”
I’d love to hear your reaction if you’d care to leave a comment below… Thanks, Rob
Update 22 Jan 2010: We now have signed copies available for supporters. If you’d like to consider a copy, have a look here