Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : October 24th 2012 Contents 8
Furniture For Sale at The Heritage Queenstown
Heritage Queenstown has started refurbishing its rooms and is now onto the
Beds, chairs, desks, couches, coffee and bedside tables, recycled rimu TV cabinets
and more for low prices all for sale on Saturday 27 October from 9-12pm.
• Cash only • Must pay when picking up
• Must take goods with you on the day - no storage service available, no delivery • No previews
Phone Enquires: Call Kirsty on (03) 450 1511, Mon-Fri between 9-12pm
Aspinalls inspired by Aspiring
By SUE FEA
Five generations: Allison and Randall Aspinall with Johnny Aspinall, the fifth
generation of Aspinalls at Mt Aspiring Station.
Tricky crossing: Jerry Aspinall with his two sons John and Christopher crossing
the Matukituki River.
Flashback: The Aspinall family, John and Sue at rear, with children Randall,
Rachal and Catie.
Ewe beauties: Randall Aspinall and farm worker Struan Mehrtens watch the last
ewes make their way across the Matukituki.
Forty kilometres from
Wanaka in the craggy
backblocks of Otago
four generations of
Aspinalls have carved
out a high country legacy that
began with primitive beginnings
Now little Johnny Aspinall, just
5-months-old, is the first of the
fifth generation to be raised on
one of New Zealand's most
majestic back country play-
grounds, Mt Aspiring Station.
High Country Legacy, written and
beautifully photographed by Alex
Hedley, was released last Friday.
It's the story of Johnny's family,
which has farmed this tough,
rugged, mountainous environ-
ment since his hardy great, great
grandfather Jack Aspinall and his
English war bride first purchased
the pastoral leasehold station in
92 years ago.
Winters were tough -- so cold that
Jack used to heat up rocks on the
stove and put them in his bed.
Aspinalls have always been at the
mercy of the elements.
To this day they're at times very
weary about crossing the
Matukituki River, known for its
treacherous boulders and quick
sand. The noise of thunderous
avalanches and cataracts are also
part of daily life on the station and
snow up to a record 48cm deep has
lain on the ground for as long as
The book is a tribute to John
Aspinall, his parents, grandpar-
ents and the two generations of
tough Scottish Highlanders, the
MacPhersons, who settled there
before them. The station's at
times treacherous waterways
claimed the lives of Hugh
MacPherson in 1902 and later his
daughter-in-law in 1919.
In 1957, John's parents Jerry and
Phyllis Aspinall voluntarily sur-
rendered 20,235ha to the Crown to
help form Mount Aspiring
National Park, which was created
These days more than 80,000
tourists and visitors pass through
the stunningly beautiful station
every year. Generations of Aspin-
alls have always befriended
visitors passing through with a
famous high country welcome
and cup of tea.
Tragically John Aspinall died in
November last year after a short
battle with leukaemia, leaving
wife, Sue, son Randall and his
wife, Allison, to pick up the baton.
He was renowned as the ''cham-
pion of public access'' and a
pivotal high country spokesman
for Federated Farmers, a legend-
ary guardian of the environment.
A keen conservationist, tramper,
fisherman and hunter, John's
departure was hailed as a
national tragedy. He was an
integral part of the public access
debate and land tenure review
process and also served on the
Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory
His most famous quote still
resonates today: ''Sustainable
management will not be achieved
by rules, regulations, legislation or plans. It is achieved by those
working the land with sweaty brows and dirty hands.''
Sue said her late husband would
have been very pleased about the
''John had a wonderful gentle
manner. He taught us so much.
He was always just happy to share
the station, teach other people and
all he asked for in return was that
they respected our property.''
John's parents Jerry and Phyllis
farmed the property until John
and Sue arrived back from their
honeymoon in 1977 to take over
what was a new homestead built
closer to Wanaka and minus some
treacherous Matukituki River
Jerry, who served on the Otago
Conservation Board and Mt
Aspiring National Park Board,
first took over the property, aged
20, with his mother when Jack
died in 1942.
Three generations of Aspinall
children have been schooled by
correspondence on the station.
For Sue, even as a trained
teacher, it was always a challenge
being ''mother and teacher at the
Wholesome cooking has always
played a big part in the history of
Mt Aspiring Station, with Sue's
mother-in-law Phyllis legendary
for her homebaking. Stations
recipes and helpful hints are
shared in the back pages of the
Sue has huge admiration for
''Grandad Jack and Gran Amy,
whom she said must have had
''wonderful character and ten-
acity to battle on''.
''We are incredibly grateful to
''They left a legacy to us all.''
High Country Legacy
The Mirror has two copies of
High Country Legacy: Four
Generations of Aspinalls at Mt
Aspiring Station to give away
To go in the draw, email us at
email@example.com with the
word ''Aspinall'' in the subject
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