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Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high country station has beaten stiff competition from the likes of The Luminaries, to win the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice at the New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Rob Suisted on stage to accept the award (on behalf of Harry Broad too). Photo: Mark Tantrum.

Photographer, Rob Suisted, at the New Zealand Post Book Awards

Molesworth tells the stories of those who have contributed to this spectacular and iconic reserve, and explains the importance of recreation and conservation in the running of a modern high-country farm.

Horses being walked down the Driving Spur.

Molesworth Station (New Zealand’s largest farm)

The book was written by DOC’s honorary writer in residence, Harry Broad, with photographs by Rob Suisted.

“What we have attempted with the book is to do justice to all those who have made Molesworth and its mystique into such an iconic landscape.” ~ Harry Broad.

Molesworth: 'Like riding through a painting'. Photo copyright: Rob Suisted.

Molesworth: An iconic landscape

It has been said that the Booksellers Choice Award is the best one to win as it is a reflection of consumer awareness, from the people who buy and sell books, not just the view of the judges for any one year.

Congratulations Harry and Rob!

Learn more about Molesworth

Thanks for all your comments telling us why you want this fantastic book. The giveaway is now closed and the winner (picked at random) is Cathy Brown.

For the last 15 months, retired DOC stalwart, Harry Broad, has been researching the history of Molesworth Station—New Zealand’s largest farm (now conservation land).

The result is a stunning book, created in association with photographer Rob Suisted and Craig Potton Publishing.

Book cover: Molesworth—Stories from New Zealand’s Largest High-Country Station.

Today, thanks to Craig Potton Publishing, we’ve got a signed copy to give away.

But first, let’s take a closer look at Molesworth…

The mystique of Molesworth

What is it about Molesworth that has seen it retain its fascination for the public over many years?

First, the scale is truly vast (180 000 hectares), being bigger in size than Stewart Island, and stretching almost from Hanmer to the top of the Awatere Valley.

'Like riding through a painting' is how one cyclist described cycling through Molesworth.

‘Like riding through a painting’ is how one cyclist described
cycling through Molesworth

It is largely mountainous country and the overwhelming impression as you travel through it is one of hugely imposing landscapes that dwarf its rivers and dominate the horizons.

The history of Molesworth

Molesworth has a fascinating history. The private lessees walked off the run in 1937, crippled by low wool prices, snowstorms that could decimate sheep flocks, and being overrun by rabbits.

The horses are being walked down the Driving Spur.

The herd comes down the Driving Spur—cattle steam merging with the mist

The Department of Lands and Survey deserves enduring credit for rebuilding the station into ecological and economic health.

They appointed the legendary Bill Chisholm as manager who, along with his wife Rachel, rejuvenated the ruined landscape.

But Bill wasn’t big on public access, and for years the station was off limits.

An early morning start at the Yarra Hut, with stars still in the sky.

Early morning at the Yarra Hut

In 1987 Molesworth Station was finally opened to the public for a limited season—to drive through the main valley of the Acheron.

Eighteen years later, in 2005, Molesworth became public conservation land—managed by the Department of Conservation, in association with Landcorp Farming.

Today, the 8,000 strong cattle herd at Molesworth Station (the biggest herd in the country) is matched by the number of visitors each year—all enjoying the magic and mystique of this iconic high country reserve.

Visit Molesworth

When visiting Molesworth Station be prepared for a land of extremes. This vast landscape contains craggy scree-scarred mountains, wide river valleys and tussock slopes as well as tiny inconspicuous endangered plants. Its weather ranges from scorching summers to freezing snowy winters.

A rafting trip setting out down the Clarence River to the river mouth.

A rafting trip setting out down the Clarence River

Experience Molesworth for yourself during the open access periods, by car, bike, horse or on foot. Learn about the history from interpretation panels, camp outside the Cob Cottage, picnic by the mighty Acheron River or enjoy walks from 10 minutes to several days duration.


If you’d like to win a copy of Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station, leave a comment on this post before 12 noon on Wednesday 27 November 2013 telling us why you want the book.

A winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.

Please note: We can only ship to New Zealand addresses.

Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station is valued at $69.99 and is available in most good bookstores; in many DOC visitor centres; and online at Craig Potton Publishing.

Learn more about Molesworth on the DOC website

History of Molesworth Station

Visiting Molesworth Station