NZ Booklovers reviews the South Island of New Zealand From the Road


Lyn Potter has reviewed Robin Morrison’s The South Island of New Zealand From the Road, which was republished this month in a new edition.

She says:

‘This beautiful book is a new edition of Robin Morrison’s The South Island Of New Zealand From The Road, which was first published more than 40 years ago in 1981.

By that time, he was already a highly acclaimed and popular photojournalist and documentary photographer. In 1982 it was the first photographic book to win a New Zealand Book Award (now the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards).

In the winter of 1979, he set off on a six-month road trip of the South Island with his young family. His aim was to document a slice of the real New Zealand through his portraits of ordinary people in their homes and workplaces and the rural landscape they inhabited.

I met Robin just once at a friend’s house in Ponsonby at a party. With his impish grin, he lit up the room with his charm. I could so imagine how the people he approached for his book would have been happy to welcome him into their homes and workplaces to be photographed.

His portraits are carefully composed, so his subjects look comfortable and at ease. One of my personal favourites is Jane and Ted Lawrence in Bannockburn, an elderly couple sitting in their best room, each with a cat on their knees. Jane is seated behind her ironing board on which a freshly ironed hand-embroidered tablecloth has been draped. In the background, a kettle sits on a wood-burning stove. A cabinet is filled with their best china. Ornaments and an old clock are arranged on top of the mantelpiece. A framed family photograph hangs on the wall. These treasured possessions provide tantalizing glimpses into their lives.’

Read the full review here.