The Kiwi farmer is a uniquely practical sort.
With literature and travel said to broaden the mind, Tim Fulton’s recently published Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is one of the best antidotes to restrictions placed on the latter by Covid. It is aptly subtitled ‘Tales from the Rural Heartland’ as this is exactly what you get.
Telling the tales of rural farming operations big and small, from Kaitaia to Bluff, the book is a wartsand- all look at the hard yards put in by New Zealand’s pioneering families. It covers their endeavours from the mid-1800s through to the challenges of today. The guide takes in topics like purchase, establishment, survival and succession, with the odd bit of discrimination, drought and disease.
Whether it’s the back country of North Canterbury, where Scargill’s owners make a living from beef and sheep, with a passion for old cars, to the tales of Mike Murphy from Waimate further south, whose prowess with a shearing handpiece has taken him around the world, the book is a wonderful insight into the exploits of real Kiwi blokes and lasses.
Told in a no-nonsense, direct way that typifies Fulton’s time in the rural news industry, readers will recognise place names like Whangara, Waikato and Invermay. They will also share an insight into the families whose lives are intrinsically linked to those places.
Beautifully presented with high-quality photographs of the past and present, The Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is an ideal gift for the lounge or bedside table. It will soon have you sitting down with a coffee and a ginger nut, just to read another story.
The Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is available in all good bookstores.