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Southern Spirit

Forget what Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said about Invercargill, a new book on Southland describes the region as one of the finest combinations of people and places anywhere.

Southern Spirit: The People and Places of Southland is writer and keen tramper Ian Dougherty’s take on a region he regards as part of his extended back yard.

The book is a celebration of southern landscapes, from the fantastic fiords in the west and across the green plains to a fossil forest in the east.

It introduces readers to unique flora and fauna, from one of the world’s rarest plants to some of its rarest birds. It serves up a platter of mouth-watering delicacies, from oysters to cheese rolls.

It acquaints readers with old and new settlers, authors and artists, brewers and distillers, champion shearers and sawyers, and machines and the people who collect them. And it lays out the region as an enormous playground relished by locals and visitors alike.

Dougherty’s text is complemented by 150 mainly colour photographs, including his own images and those from a variety of other photographers.

Dougherty is the author of 28 books on New Zealand history, biography, culture and society, from a biography of a southern folk hero: Arawata Bill: The Story of Legendary Gold Prospector William James O'Leary; to a book on Southland’s champion netball side: Southern Sting: The Team That Inspired a Region.

Southern Spirit: The People and Places of Southland is available for $30 from book and gift shops and directly from the publisher: Saddle Hill Press, PO Box 90, Dunedin 9054, Mobile Phone 027 2480714, Email

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