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River of Blood takes us deep into the heart of the Waiatoto valley on New Zealand's savage West Coast. This is truly our own Wild West: a place which may never really be 'won'.
The men and women pioneers, musterers, hunters and pilots of South Westland's Haast District have few peers. Why? Take the isolation, the rugged geography; take the atrocious weather that is sometimes so bad for so long that the hair begins to rot from the backs of live cattle. Take all that and consider the folk who've lived there for three generations: imagine how the land must have shaped them. Ranging from mountain exploration to epic two-week cattle droves through dense bush, wild rivers and over dangerous passes; from hacking an existence out of feral isolation to high adrenaline pursuits, this book encompasses often poignant, sometimes bizarre, tales of tragedy and dogged survival.
A book for all those who are gripped by West Coast lore, and for adventurers of all kinds - pilots and bush-men, hunters and fishers, stockmen, musterers and drovers alike, boaties, trampers and mountaineers - River of Blood gives us the sense of people living by their wits, and with fearsome grit. A place that, even now, fits the label 'The Last Frontier'.
At the start of the twentieth century, there were a few hardy sould who made the decision to farm in the southwest of the South Island, New Zealand's last frontier.
This is a book that is a must-read by all Kiws as it shows what our ancestors had to endure to make ends meet, often with humour and tragedy in everyday life.
It is surprising the amount of research that was undertaken by the author, and this is shown in the tales of the people who have lived, loved, raised their children , and have died in the area that they loved, the west southland of NZ.
The author's bibliography is another list of books for those that love the great outdoors, and tales of what it was like before it became all high-tech... the slog and gutsache of all the pioneers.
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