Willow Flat book outlines area’s colourful past
A BOOK commemorating the history of the Willow Flat area is due for release early next month.
Two years ago, an enthusiastic group of Wairoa residents went up to Willow Flat to celebrate the ﬁrst pastoral runs there 100 years ago.
It was noted at the time that Hamilton- based author Jim Fraser was working on a history of the area and many have been awaiting its publication with great interest.
The publication and launch of the book, entitled “Shandrydan, The Willow Flat Country” is scheduled to take place on May 2 at the Willow Flat school area, the same venue as the centennial event.
The launch will take the form of a midday picnic on Sunday.
Mr Fraser said the book did not just aim to be of interest to local history buffs.
He expects there to be a much wider appeal – all he had to do was simply cover the signiﬁcant history that was there. “Now that 400 pages have been devoted to the topic there should be far fewer unanswered questions about the region,” he said
Some questions will have to remain a mystery for the time being, because after a decade of research, Mr Fraser said he had to draw a line upon how much longer research should continue.
“A lot of descendants of people from the region came to the centennial, and even more are expected this time ”
Although he is based in Hamilton, Mr Fraser was brought up on Totara Valley Station at Willow Flat, and he was a shepherd there until the age of 22.
Today he shares his time between Hamilton and Napier, still involved on the land, but in cropping and on a broodmare stud.
A Bay Tours coach is taking people from Napier to Willow Flat (06) 843 6953 and Kevin Francis of Willow Flat has accommodation available in the schoolhouses and in the forestry quarters.
Any one interested in accommodation for the event should contact Kevin Francis at (06) 837 6777 or (06) 843 7148.
History buffs and people with WillowFlat links should take note because the book will be discounted at the launch and will not be widely distributed.