Travelling through the Crown Range and into Wanaka is one of my most favourite drives. The landscape feels like Mars, isolated and surrounded by baron beauty. The lake is the heart and soul of Wanaka, surrounded by snow capped mountains adventure sports are the main attraction. 

A few years back while I was travelling I came across a tree that had fallen and hoped it was still there. I searched near by woods to see what I could find and explored new areas that I have not been before.

While walking around Lake Wanaka I came in contact with this rotted out stump, its curves and interesting patterns grabbed my attention. The constitution of the stump left me worried but I wanted to try and see if I could pull come interesting textures. After thirty minutes of sawing and burning I came to the conclusion that it would just not work, I left it to decay into the earth and create new life in the distant future.

My searches in and around the area came up short so I decided to drive out to where I had first seen this stump years ago and crossed my fingers it was still there. 

To my relief and joy the fallen tree was still there, although she had reduced in size with locals cutting fire wood from her from previous seasons. 

I wasted no time and pulled all my tools out and got to work. My saw was no match for the stump, shorter in length and with several knots of hard wood pushing through made the next few hours a give and take scenario. I had to learn to be patient and work with the tree, not to force my way through but to be guided along her subtle differences. cutting from one side and switching back and forth is less than desired, trying to get a smooth clean cut became impossible. the end result looked like a warped vinyl record, I spend the rest of the afternoon into the evening cutting back and trying to create a somewhat flat surface.

I have not felt more proud pulling this print, every step and every stump is a lesson, on refinement, on patience and on understanding my limits. While I was planing on my hands and knees a local pulled over and asked me what I was doing, I explained and showed some of my previous work. He asked me if I would like to know a bit about the history regarding this tree in particular, I replied with "of course" and he proceeded to explain that a few years ago there was a huge storm that passed the area ravaging the township and surrounding areas, a local teacher was driving home and right before him this tree came crashing down, his car ran straight into the tree flipping his car sending him into the ditch on the side of the road. He narrowly avoided death and came away with only broken bones. 

The light was leaving with every pressing, gradually getting darker and darker, pulling the last print around 5:30 pm I packed the car and headed back to Wanaka to clean and pack the car once more. 


The Queenstown skyline has changed significantly over the last few years with a increase in tourism and development, it feels like the locals have left and the new breed have moved in. The mountain side is being cleared to make way for more development and to further expand the Queenstown district, looking up towards the Ben Lomond summit and noticing how much of the hillside has been cleared for new homes left a uneasy feeling deep inside me.

I arrived late into the evening, searching for a secluded area I could pull up and get some rest. My sleeping arrangement was less than desired but I have done it before and I will almost certainly do it again. Camped out in my little hire care, it fits all all my gear plus a little extra. With a restless nights sleep tossing and turning I eagerly woke up with dawn and welcomed the day with a coffee and porridge. My original plan we to survey the hills up towards the Ben Lomond track above queenstown but as a sat there looking over the township and noticing the change that has taken place over the last few years I had a sudden change of heart. 

I decided to look on a section of land that will not be here in years to come, I came across a path that lead past a small clearing where a number of trees had been cut down. Looking at the various sizes of the stumps I gathered that they would have originated from the same tree and be descendants of one another. This family have stood here for over 20 years, they are as much part of queenstown as the lake and the slopes. 

This idea resonated with me heavily, to see a family of trees not planted in lines, but grown organically with the earth and the seasons. I knew I wanted to print them all, the next process of placement of print and space made it difficult to print them all and I hadn't reached the next challenge of physically printing them but knew I would make it work.

With the winds changing by the second and light showers coming when ever they wanted made for a difficult time to begin with. I decided to print in sets of threes from smallest to largest, in order to maintain similarities between each print I used the landscape as a reference guide.

With nowhere to place them and the weather closing in, I ran the risk of damage by laying each print on the surrounding scrub, a few hairy moments where I thought the wind was going to whisk them all away I managed to get out before night fall. I wrapped up the prints, bagged my gear, said a quick goodbye and headed for the car. 

I said farewell to Queenstown and headed north for Wanaka hoping to find some adventures and say hello to a old friend.