Dot, Queen of Riverstone Castle

17/05/2014

When Neil and Dot Smith chose to move their family from the top of the North Island to well down the east coast of the south is was Northland’s loss and North Otago’s gain.

They were among the first dairy farmers to see the opportunity irrigation on the Lower Waitaki plains presented.

They bought one of the worst, stony, barren, wind swept properties and with hard work and skill have turned it, and other blocks they subsequently purchased, into some of the best.

One son followed his parents into farming, the other Bevan and his wife Monique established the award-winning Riverstone Kitchen on the farm.

The Smiths are not just good farmers, they’re good community people and entrepreneurs too,

They know how to work hard and save hard and nowhere is that better illustrated than in the time and effort they’ve put in to fulfilling Dot’s dream of building a castle.

Now Dot can add author to her long list of accomplishments.

 

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The pink, flowery cover shouldn’t put off men, Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle isn’t a “women’s” book.

It’s an easy, entertaining and inspirational read which covers her modest, but happy, childhood; overseas travels; marriage; farming, including  through the ag-sag;  other business ventures; more travel, the development of the Riverstone complex and the castle.

Dot’s always worked hard and she’s faced tough times, including the loss of most of her savings in the collapse of Hubbard Management Fund. But in life, and through the book, her irrepressible spirit and sense of fun shine through.

Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown.

Published by Random House also available as an e-book.

Graham Beattie posts:  Dot – She’s a visionary, an entrepreneur and dreams big in North Otago’s Waitaki Valley  and talks to Mark Sainsbury about the book here.

In other media:

* Dot talks to Jim Mora.

* Dream of living in castle comes to life

* Dot’s castle inspires dreams.

* And TV3’s 3rd Degree featured Dot’s building a castle.


If you want a castle . . .

02/01/2014

Dot and Neil Smith were among the first people to take up the opportunity irrigation provided on the Lower Waitaki Plains.

They moved down from Northland more than 30 years ago and through hard work and good ideas established successful dairy farms.

Dot’s energy and enthusiasm didn’t stop there, she also established Riverstone Country, a store crammed with gifts, home and garden ware.

One son is dairying, the other, Bevan and his wife Monique, and his wife developed the award winning restaurant Riverstone Kitchen.

One reason for its well deserved reputation is its fresh fruit and vegetables from the expansive gardens which surround it.

The Smiths believe in their dreams and are prepared to work hard to realise them.

One of Dot’s dreams is to have a castle and she’s getting it.

Mrs Smith said . . . It would be the only ”new home” they had lived in.

”We have only ever lived in farm cottages on farms before, so this will be the first time we have had a new house.”

The 65-year-old said the chance to live in a castle was ”a dream come true”.

”Some people have a dream to own a Porsche. My dream has been to live like a princess in a castle, and really, everybody’s home is their castle.”

Although the castle would also have a ”secret tunnel”, along with a basement and dungeon, the building was intended as ”just a home”, she said.

”Hopefully, it will be lots of fun for the grandkids.”

TV3’s 3rd Degree profiled it, you can watch it here.

You can also read her story  in Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown and published by Random House.


Fleur

30/12/2011

Her restaurant is called Fleurs Place (without an apostrophe) and it is Fleur who makes it special.

We’ve never had a bad meal there but the ones when she is there are better. Her personality makes it more than just a very good restaurant with wonderful food and good service.

That personality shines through in her autobiography, Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan.

She was a woman ahead of her time in her appreciation of the importance of history and heritage; her enthusiasm for good local food and the part it plays in tourism; and also in setting up and running businesses while bringing up her children.

The book chronicles her adventures and ventures in business and life neither of which have been without their challenges.

It is a fascinating and inspiring read generously supplemented with photographs, including many recent ones by Aaron McLean.

 

Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan,  with Nathlaie Brown, published by Random House.


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