Community turns out for book launch
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.
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.