Book to record Kereru Station’s long history
A history of Kereru Station will document the remarkable story of two sisters who turned around the fortunes of the Hawke’s Bay sheep and cattle run and directed its earnings to local causes.
The hardcover, fully illustrated book will be published next year in a project initiated by the trusts established by the sisters, Gwen Malden and Ruth Nelson. The two trusts continue to distribute proﬁts from the farming operation to Hawke’s Bay charities, community organisations, the arts and educational purposes.
Flanking the Ruahine Range west of Hastings, Kereru Station is among Hawke’s Bay’s most iconic and historic farms.
It was part of the 50,000-acre Otaranga block purchased by the government from Maori in 1857. Later that year, J.N. Williams, the son of Bishop William Williams, took up 20,000-acres; by 1860 he was farming 3200 sheep.
Tessa Tylee, a descendant of Williams and a great-niece of the sisters, is continuing to research the property’s history. Award-winning Napier journalist Mary Shanahan is writing the book, which will be published by Phantom House.
Illustrations will include historical photographs as well as contemporary images by Phantom House’s Grant Sheehan, a renowned photographer who is also a boutique book publisher.
“It’s an exciting challenge for everyone associated with this venture,” says Tessa, who has been employing her skills, gained in working in the world of television, to video-record the stories of people who have been associated with Kereru Station.
“There will be more information and material out there, including photographs and art work – Gwen was a talented painter and Ruth a proﬁcient carver – that could help us build a more complete picture of the farm and those who knew it in the past. We would love to hear from anyone Who could assist us, including those who may have known Ruth and Gwen.”
Tessa can be contacted via tessa[@]aliceintv.co.nz
Photo caption – IN TANDEM: Mary Shanahan and Tessa Tylee, pictured on the verandah of Kereru Station’s homestead, are working on a book about the property.
PHOTO: GRANT SHEEHAN