Com­mu­nity turns out for book launch

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - PIPPA BROWN

It was a rare visit to town for the Red­fern fam­ily, at the book launch of Life on Muz­zle Sta­tion - the most re­mote farm in New Zealand last Thurs­day.

The book, writ­ten by Fiona Red­fern, who now owns the high­coun­try run with her hus­band Guy, tells the his­tory of Muz­zle Sta­tion on the in­land side of the Sea­ward Ranges, and the life her par­ents, Colin and Tina Nimmo had when they took they bought the farm in 1980.

The book launch at the Kaiko¯ura Trot­ting Club last Thurs­day was a chance to catch up with friends and fam­ily, many of whom fea­ture in the book. About 80 peo­ple turned up to hear Red­fern talk.

Smoked salmon and brown trout from the Clarence River and lo­cally farmed Here­ford prime steaks were served along with a bar­be­cue.

Mark Fis­senden from Pa­per Plus, who spon­sored the event, said the book was prov­ing very pop­u­lar, partly be­cause the story was a part of the coun­try’s ge­netic makeup.

‘‘Farm­ing is a part of our DNA,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s his­tory - the heart of New Zealand is rural and a lot of that is gone.’’

Fis­senden said it was im­por­tant to get the his­tory of the peo­ple who man­aged the big coun­try sta­tions, and all the peo­ple that farmed the land on pa­per be­cause a lot of them were get­ting older, or had gone.

‘‘The book is suc­cess­ful be­cause it reaches so many peo­ple.

‘‘It’s about shar­ing mem­o­ries and this is a big part of th­ese peo­ple’s lives,’’ Fis­senden said.

Muz­zle Sta­tion is New Zealand’s most re­mote high coun­try sta­tion, only ac­ces­si­ble by 40km of rugged, muddy 4WD track that con­nects it to the In­land Kaiko¯ura road. The track crosses the Clarence and a 1300 me­tre pass on the Sea­ward Range.

Arthur Gar­rett has known the fam­ily since 1980 when Colin and Tina Nimmo ar­rived in Kaiko¯ura. He watched Fiona, or ’O’, as she was known, and her sis­ter Lucy grow up.

Gar­rett said he re­mem­bers the hard­ship the Nimmo’s went through when the cou­ple first shifted to Muz­zle, af­ter the land was split off from Bluff Sta­tion. There was no tele­phone, no freezer and no road. The cou­ple moved into an old two-bed­room cob cot­tage with a cor­ru­gated lean-to hous­ing the kitchen and bath­room with a long drop out­side.

‘‘It wasn’t easy for them from the start.

‘‘The house hadn’t been lived in for a long time, and they did most of the work them­selves.

‘‘There was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion over the back and they used a ra­dio tele­phone,’’ he said.

When the man­ual ex­change at the Post Of­fice was closed and 22 work­ers were made re­dun­dant Gar­rett, and his part­ner Kate Rear­don took the ra­dio tele­phone to their house to com­mu­ni­cate and trans­fer mes­sages for the Nimmo fam­ily.

Later Gar­rett started work­ing for them on a sep­a­rate be­ef­fat­ten­ing farm in town.

PHOTO: PIPPA BROWN/STUFF

Arthur Gar­rett, pho­tog­ra­pher Derek Mor­ri­son, Guy and Fiona Red­fern at the Kaik­oura book launch of Life on Muz­zle Sta­tion - the most re­mote farm in New Zealand.

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