High Country Woman: My Life on Rees Valley Station, by Iris Scott with Geraldine O’Sullivan Beere (Random House, RRP $45):
The description on the back cover of this book says “New Zealand’s high country farmers are a special breed” and I reckon you would be hard- pressed to find one as special as Iris Scott.
In 1992, life was turned upside down for Iris when her husband died: she was left a widow with three children and a high-country farm to run.
Running one of these farms, with their high altitudes, extreme climates and unforgiving terrain is a big ask for anyone, but for a widowed mum-of-three, that job was harder than most.
However, they breed them tough in the south, so Iris took up the reins, finding the strength to continue as the runholder of Rees Valley Station, a 150-year-old, 18,000-hectare farm at the head of Lake Wakatipu, near Glenorchy.
And just for good measure, Iris also managed to keep her veterinary practice running as well.
This book is two stories in one: it is the story of Iris Scott and her incredible determination and strength in keeping the farm going and it is also a story about the history of this beautiful part of the country.
I’m an Invercargill girl born-and- bred and know little about what goes on in the rural areas of our country so was pleasantly surprised by just how absorbing this book was.
It is beautifully illustrated throughout, which adds to the journey, but it is the words that will have the most impact, pulling you into the story of how one incredibly strong woman picked herself up, dusted herself off and with just a few wee hiccups along the way took on life and won.
Iris Scott is an inspiring woman with a good sense of humour and a strong spirit and this book was a pleasant surprise for this townie.