Mustering at the End of the Farm

Patricia Howitt

Kaeo, New Zealand

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Artist's Description

Inspired by a glimpse from a train.

In my days working for the government in Wellington, I used to come north at Christmas to visit my parents on the land where I now live. At first, travel by train was the only option I could afford, and the best option was the night train between Wellington and Auckland – ‘the Limited’ as it was called.

On the return journey, I always awoke in time to see the majestic Rangitikei River with its sheer vertical ‘papa’ (mudstone) cliffs laid out below, as the train skirted the river’s course on high-slung viaducts. Truly spectacular!

There was another far less flamboyant vision that I always looked out for, though. As the train approached the northern end of the Tararua Ranges it was possible, if one kept one’s eyes peeled and the weather was favorable, to catch a peep into the mountainous interior through a cleft in the hills.

One day, I kept my eyes peeled AND had a camera at the ready. The resulting photograph, and several years of inspiration, formed the basis of this painting.

Spring showers in the Northern Tararua Ranges cloak the hillsides as the musterers and their dogs bring home the flock. Behind is a magical glimpse into the interior of the northern end of the Tararua mountains.

Acrylic on canvas board 30 × 21in. I shall have a larger digital version of this work shortly.

Featured in my ‘Wild New Zealand’ Calendar:

Artwork Comments

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