High-country Lark

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High-country Lark

Neville Peat

Publisher:Random House New Zealand Ltd

An unusual summons from an old, itinerant acquaintance known as the Lark piques author Neville Peat's curiosity. The invitation to meet in the mountains around Glenorchy is timely: he's keen to head into the high country to investigate recent reports of sightings of the near-extinct kokako. The South Island high country has an allure all its own. New Zealand's equivalent of the Wild West, it's a rustic, spectacularly beautiful frontier, combining wild alpine beauty, beech forest and mirror-still lakes. The Head of Lake Wakatipu has attracted Maori for the dazzling local pounamu; its sublime beauty has seduced European tourists, artists, writers and farm-holders since the nineteenth century. Peat sets off on a fascinating trail that takes him deep into the hills to explore local history, legend and land politics. He skilfully blends the characters and stories of the past those of Arawata Bill and Joseph Fenn among them with a powerful sense of place and concerns for the future.In prose as fine as snow-caps reflected in lake water, Peat brings us an extraordinary region: from the laconic humour of the locals, to the last chance we might have to halt the demise of several threatened native species.

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