Few places in New Zealand carry the raw majesty of The Clarence. Its winding journey through the South of the country adds so much to the landscape, the relenting and oftentimes forbidding landscape. It is unfathomably beautiful and yet in his new book, The Clarence, Tim Fulton is able to capture much of that beauty and awe-inspiring scenery that the area is able to capture.
The subtitle of the book reads “People and Places of Waiau Toa” and it is in this, the people and places, that Fulton is able to really create the world that is such a remarkable place. Stories around the farmers, the locals, the families that exist in this barren but stunning place push the overarching narrative that The Clarence region is one of unsurpassed magic and connection and place.
In perusing the coffee table-esque style that Fulton has created, it is easy to get lost in the panoramic photos of the meandering river weaving its way through the mountain range that carves the lower part of the country. The undulating land is uninhabited, as if looking at something historic, pre-civilisation, the way that New Zealand once was. Snow frosts the tops of the high hills and mountains of the south, and yet there is a clarity about the picture, a reminder that this is all just a short flight away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets of our major towns.
We are so incredibly blessed in this country. It is easy to forget, but we have such reminders in books such as Fulton’s homage to the region.
There is a photo from the book accompanying the story of Lance Godfrey - a man who, as a young fella, was introduced to the region and never left - and a grader of the roads sitting high up in the mountain pass. In the background are cotton wool clouds nestled in the valley. It is aching beautiful as the world of the land and the world of technology conflate into one partnership.
This is a reminder of how majestic our country is; and how incredible the stories and people of the Clarence Valley truly are. Serving as both a fascinating read, and a beautiful coffee table styled book of the region, there really is something for anyone who realises how blessed we are to be so close to such remarkable landscapes in this country.
Reviewer: Chris Reed