Author(s): John Breen
River of Blood takes us deep into the heart of the Waiatoto Valley on New Zealand's savage southern coast. This is truly our own Wild West: a place which may never really be 'won'.Transporting us from the nineteenth century to the present day, this book shows us that the men and women pioneers, musterers, hunters and pilots of South Westland's Haast District have few peers. Why? Take the isolation, the rugged geography, and the powerful and hazardous rivers, the dense bush; take the atrocious weather that is sometimes so bad for so long that the hair begins to rot from the backs of live cattle. Take all that and consider, imagine how the land must shape a people's character. Dominated by one family, the Eggelings, who have lived here for three generations, the legends and history of the Waiatoto Valley tell of hardship, strain, and yet astonishingsurvival against the odds. Ranging from mountain exploration to epic two-week cattle droves through dense bush and over alpine passes; from hacking an existence out of wild isolation to the high adrenaline pursuit of live deer capture, River of Blood encompasses often poignant, sometimes bizarre, tales of tragedy and dogged survival.A book for all adventurers - pilots, hunters, fishers, farmers, construction workers, trampers and mountaineers - it constantly gives us the sense of people living at full tilt, on their wits, and with fearsome grit.
John Breen is a professional quantity surveyor who has worked in the family construction business since 1966, acting as manager from 1978-2003. He has taken on building contracts throughout Central Otago, often in extreme conditions. A keen hunter, fisherman, climber and skier, he was introduced to the incomparable wilds of the Waiaoto by Kerry Eggeling in 1977.