Author(s): Alex Hedley
Mt Aspiring Station is set in the craggy backblocks of Otago, between Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. The Aspinall family have farmed in this tough and unforgiving environment — on slopes so steep that horses cannot climb — since 1920. Their homestead sits by the confluence of the east and west branches of the icy Matukituki River and marks the last occupied home before entering New Zealand’s most pristine natural wilderness. The current owners, Randall and Allison Aspinall, returned to the farm in 2010 and worked alongside Randall;s father, John, an Otago high-country legend, died unexpectedly in November 2011. They are carrying on the work of previous generations, knowing that it is a way of life fast disappearing in the face of conservation, sustainable development and technology. Behind these changes remains an unyielding love of the land and a duty to protect it. Today over 80,000 tourists and visitors pass over Mt Aspiring Station every year. HIGH COUNTRY LEGACY tells the story of this stunningly beautiful part of New Zealand through the personalities so entwined with the valley: mountaineers, trampers and climbers, conservationists, geologists, deerstalkers, possum-hunters and fishermen, and the Aspinall family themselves.
Alex Hedley is a writer, photographer and editor based in Sydney and Wellington. He published FEARNLEAF CAIRO: THE FASCINATING STORY OF NEW ZEALANDERS IN WARTIME EGYPT with HarperCollins in 2009.