The Road to Castle Hill

October 26, 2009

 If you judged The Road to Castle Hill by it’s cover you’d think it was the story of high country farming.

It is, but it’s much more than that.

Christine Fernyhough’s story is not just about how she came to buy Castle Hill Station and learned to farm it. It’s also the story of her involvement with the books in homes programe and the gifted kids programes which grew from that.

The book shows us the challenges Christine faced, including those with tenure review. She also has some very good thoughts on bridging the town-country divide.

I’ve heard Christine speak twice, she’s a delight to listen to and this book is a delight to read. Louise Callan helped with the writing and the words are enhanced by John Bougen’s photos.

dairy 10001

 

Post 26 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge

book month logo green

Deborah at In a Strange Land posts on The Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jenny Williams.

Rob posts on Greg McGee’s Tall Tales, Some True  and Memories of Muldoon by Bob Jones.


Ben & Mark Boys of the High Country

September 30, 2009

A generation ago most people who weren’t from farms had friends or family who were.

That is no longer the case and to many city kids, rural New Zealand might as well be another country.

A newly released book, by Christine Fernyhough and John Bougen aims to change that.

Ben & Mark, Boys of the High Country, is the story of the real day to day lives of Ben and Mark Smith of Mount White Station in Canterbury.

dairy 10007

Damming the creek, catching tadpoles and cockabullies, mustering on foot and horse back, helping in the shearing shed or stock yards, and pig hunting are common place for nine year old Ben and eight year old Mark.

Christine’s words and John’s photos portray these and other aspects of high country life for city kids who’ve never been off a tar sealed road.

Christine chooses simple terms to describe Ben and Mark’s activities and the station which is their 40,000 hectare home –  she explains is nearly as big as 60,000 rugby fields put together.

John uses his knowledge of the people and places to good effect in capturing the day to day life and seasonal routines. While the book is about the boys, the photos also highlight the beauty of the land. The blurb on the cover says the photos are stunning, and they are.

Although the book is aimed at children  it will appeal to adults too, whether it’s read from cover to cover or left on the coffee table to be dipped in to.

Ben & Mark Boys of the High Country by Christine Fernyhough and John Bougen. Published by Random House. $36.99.


High country love story booksellers’ choice

July 21, 2008

The Road to Castle Hill , A High Country Love Story written by Christine Fernyhough with Louise Callan, has won the Booksellers’ Choice Award.

The award was decided by booksellers who vote for the book they most enjoyed selling this year. Castle Hill has been in the top 200 bestsellers for 40 weeks, and was the best-selling book on the shortlist of 10.

The book tells of the highs and lows of learning to run a farm at some of the highest elevations in the South Island. Since the book was released, Fernyhough has been busy promoting it and speaking to groups about her experiences.

“People are so responsive, wanting to know about farming, DoC, how I’m still managing – it’s just a pleasure.”

Fernyhough has had a busy year. A heifer left her with a badly broken leg, she had a record-breaking drought to deal with, and she got married in April to her business partner and the book’s photographer, John Bougen, at the Castle Hill dog trials.

The book recounts Fernyhough’s many learning experiences after she moved from Remuera to the Canterbury High Country and also tells of her work with the Books in Schools and Gifted Kids programmes.

It’s a great read which appeals to men and women from town and country. Through it and her many public appearances in the wake of it, Christine has also become a valued advocate for farmers and farming.

A complaint from her about DOC or the steep rise in rents for pastoral leasehold land is much more likely to strike a chord with the public than it would if it comes from the usual farming lobby groups.


%d bloggers like this: