Home' Central Canterbury News : October 3rd 2012 Contents 6 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, OCTOBER 3, 2012
Farmers who don't follow these
safety steps risk penalties under the
Health and Safety in Employment Act
if someone working on their farm is
seriously injured or killed.
QUAD BIKE INJURIES CAN BE PREVENTED -- THEY AREN'T PART OF THE JOB.
1. Riders must be trained/experienced
enough to do the job
2. Choose the right vehicle for the job
3. Always wear a helmet
4. Don't let kids ride adult quad bikes
EVERY YEAR 850 PEOPLE
ARE INJURED ON FARMS
RIDING QUAD BIKES.
We'll be visiting farms in your area
throughout the year to check these steps
are being followed on your farm.
DOL 11860.2 SEP 12
For more information please visit
Station life recorded
BUSHY IN MESSIE: Legendary
photographer Peter Bush has
remained friends with the
Mesopotamia runholders since his
first ignominious meeting almost 50
The Central Canterbury News
has copies of A Fabled Land
to give away. To enter the
draw to win one of these, put
your name, address and
phone number on the back of
an envelope and send it to
Book Giveaway, Central
Canterbury News, Private
Bag 4722, Christchurch
8140, to arrive no later than
Monday October 8. Winners'
names will be published in
next week's Central
MEET THE AUTHORS
A Press Literary Liaison will be held with A
Fabled Land author Bruce Ansley and
photographer Peter Bush at the Lincoln Events
Centre tomorrow, October 4, from 6pm to 8pm.
Tickets are $15, or $10 for Press subscribers.
Tickets can be purchased by phoning (03)
943-2806. Further details, page 32.
IF ANYTHING could rival
photographer Peter Bush s
love of rugby, it is
Mesopotamia, the magnificent
and historic South Canterbury
station which lies in the
Rangitata high country, hard
against the Southern Alps.
The celebrated rugby
photographer first crossed paths
with the Mesopotamia
runholders, the Prouting family,
almost 50 years ago, when they
ended up rescuing his brand new
rental Land Rover from the
clutches of the mighty Rangitata
In a new book, A Fabled Land,
Bush and Canterbury journalist
Bruce Ansley team up to reveal a
vivid portrait of this special, awe-
inspiring and seductive place,
where 150 years of station life
have been played within the great
amphitheatre of the mountains.
Bush s photos, taken on a series
of visits over the years, capture
the great musters of days gone by,
the dignity of the shearing gangs,
the majestic country, and the
distinctive and determined
characters who ve been part of the
great Mesopotamia story.
An excerpt from the book, A
Fabled Land, follows:
I knew Jack Acland from
Mount Peel Station. He was
chairman of the Wool Board and I
did a lot of work for the board. It
was 1970. The All Blacks were in
South Africa. I was pretty keen on
shooting and he said, Why don t
you come down our way? One of
the big stations down here is run
by a good friend of mine, Malcolm
So Bob Hayman, Russell
Stewart and I hired a Land Rover
in Christchurch on a nor west day
in September. We called in to
Mount Peel and Sir John and
Lady Acland made us welcome. It
was a bleak day, but we bowled up
the valley and asked Malcolm if
we could go shooting; that Jack
Acland suggested it. Malcolm kind
of ran his eye over us. He said,
One thing about it, Jack Acland
does not run Mesopotamia. I do.
In a rather nice way.
Then he said, I think you ve left
your run too late. There s a
nor wester coming.
But we wanted to do some
shooting, so we set off, went
through a number of gates into
the riverbed and ended up on this
vague track. Suddenly we could
see the clouds and the first spots
of rain. We came to the last
tributary of the main river and I
walked in but it was up to my
waist, too deep for a Land Rover.
out a dry spot where there were
some stunted willows and we put
up a rough tent. We d spend the
night out and hopefully cross in
By then it was getting dark.
The rain got heavier. Down came
the tent and we got into the Land
It just kept raining harder. At
midnight we felt a big bump and
there was this huge log resting
against the radiator. The car was
just starting to float. Bob Hayman
was an Aussie, a butcher, good
driver, jack of all trades. But he
couldn t swim a stroke. We
decided to pack everything we
could into our packs and if she
tipped over we d try to hang on,
but if we couldn t we d try to float.
It was black.
Heavy rain squalls. A greasy
dawn came at last. A great sigh of
relief. But the river was bank to
bank. The island we d camped on
Then up came an Auster. It flew
over really low, waggled its wings
and circled us a couple of times.
The pilot waved. Laurie Prouting.
So we sat it out. Two days later
the river had dropped far enough.
We took a lightweight pack with
our sleeping bags and a rifle, and
we crossed this last tributary. I
hopped across with a rope and we
pulled Bob over. We got to the
Black Mountain Hut. But the hut
was locked. Bob got a piece of
fencing wire and picked this
massive lock, which impressed me
no end. We made ourselves
arrived up next day.
Dogs in the
hopper. I couldn t
see where he was
going to land but I
didn t know
Laurie. He landed.
He said, Glad you
he said, We
lock up but I ll
show you where the key
is. He was being polite, of
course. He knew it had
been locked. He said the
river had cut new
channels. You ve got to
leave the Land Rover.
When the river drops
we ll see about towing it
We had a couple of good
days, shot a couple of
tahr, then we walked
out. It was totally
miserable. Rain. When
we got down to Messie,
Anne cooked this
I was starving. I ate the meal,
climbed into the sack, and Russell
and Bob staggered in about 11
o clock, absolutely rooted.
We got a lift down to Mount
Peel, spent the night there in
manorial splendour and went
through to Christchurch the next
day. Rang the rental car guy and
he said to leave the key on the
front wheel and he d send us
I said, We haven t got the
He blew up. You bastards
from the North Island,
you ve got no idea.
I said, Look mate, it was
an act of God.
He said, Don t give me
that crap. Where are you?
Just leaving town now,
They got the Land Rover
out. Laurie and someone
cranked it up, used a horse
to drag it back across the
river, took it back to
Christchurch and saved our
On the strength of that we
became friends. I came back
for musters and so on
through the years.
The big one was the huge
muster in the eighties. It s part of
To me it was magical. Once we
were snow-raking; winter, blue
sky, but tramping out these tracks
with Blue, then head shepherd.
We nursed some sheep along then
about eight of them jumped out of
the trench and got into a creek.
Icicles. We got them back but a
couple of them refused to move.
We left them behind. Came down
getting towards dark over these
keening wind. Got down to the hut
and someone had left the door
open and the place was half full of
snow and it was too late to go
About 10.30 at night Laurie
came flying in really low. Dropped
us some bundles.
We thought, food! But no food,
just sleeping bags. We got the fire
going though. I thought these
people, they re hardy, they re
tough and I m a sort of city slicker.
I have nothing but total
admiration for them. None of
them are clockwatchers.
They respect each other, look
after each other, and when you re
there, they expect you to behave
in the same way.
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