Down From The Tussock Ranges - David McLeod

Kiwi Best Buy


Used Very Good, no names, no rips or tears

Hardcover (with dust jacket)
Dimensions - 140 x 220 x 22mm
Publication Date: 1980 (First Edition)

This book is an attempt to carry on the story of the high country through the life of one family and one property and through my own involvement in the modernisation of high-country pastoral farming, preserving it, as little changed as possible, for future generations,’ writes David McLeod, who is well established as a gifted chronicler of life in the South Island’s high country. In Many a Glorious Morning and Kingdom in the Hills he told of coming to New Zealand in the 1920s and eventually (in 1930) buying the historic Grasmere and adjoining Cora Lynn runs in the country of the Waimakariri. 

Down From the Tussock Ranges takes up the narrative of the early years of World War II, at a time when high-country runholders from Marlborough to Southland were developing a sense of community and co-operation. Their way of life was threatened by falling production and an inequitable rent system and by charges of having by mismanagement brought about erosion in the high country. There was a need to unite and present a common case to Government. David McLeod was a leader of the group which evolved into the High Country Committee of Federated Farmers, and the inside story of how they learnt to stalk the corridors of power makes absorbing reading. 

Wartime brought problems to the high country – a drastic shortage of manpower and machinery. There was a humorous side to things too, in the Wild West antics of the Guide Platoons especially formed to preserve us from potential invaders. 

Readers already acquainted with David McLeod’s tongue-in-cheek humour and knack of spinning a yarn will not be disappointed. There are plenty of fine anecdotes, some tragic, not a few wildly funny, concerning cooks and cowmen, musterers, postmistresses and publicans.