Roger Buchanan begins Last Shepherd at the end with a brief summary of the wool industry’s recent history.
He then goes back in time, setting the scene for his life-long interest in wool from his childhood on the family farm, Aratika, 16 kilometres from Fielding. He traverses his school days and career and ends back where he began looking at the industry today and where it might go.
Buchanan began his working life with a wool merchant and tutored at Massey before his career took him to various statutory organisations. He was the Wool Board’s final chief executive and oversaw its winding down.
The book combines history, analysis, marketing, trade, policy and politics with personal anecdotes to give a comprehensive story of the wool industry, the people involved in it and the challenges they faced.
Not all of the latter were business ones. The book includes tales of travel misadventures, attempted bribery and unusual culinary encounters.
The Last Shepherd will be of most interest to farmers and others who are, or have been, involved in the industry. The politics, marketing, travel and trade tales could appeal to a wider readership.
Last Shepherd: Anecdotes and observations from five decades in the wool industry by Roger Buchanan.
Published by Mahico.
Paperback 312 pages, $45.
Links for ebooks at Last Shepherd.