In a message of support artist Grahame Sydney said “I am honoured to be a small part of the High Country Parks initiative, and send my congratulations today, and best wishes for its permanent success…Of the six parks nominated thus far, two are particularly well known to me – Pisa Range and the Hawkdun/Oteake Range – and have staked out segments of both my heart and work. I lived beneath the glowering bulk of Mount Pisa for eight years until 1983; and I built my present house in order to have the pleated wall of the Hawkdun’s as my daily companion to the north: as I write this the sun is turning the Hawkdun’s white winter coat peach-pale, and soon that snow will glow like a line of dull scarlet embers before the rising shadow line claims it for the night. That beautiful, slow show is one of the cherished gifts of my daily life.
I believe many of us identify ourselves most tellingly by the landscapes we find running deepest inside. For me, when I am overseas and thinking of New Zealand I am not thinking of the map of New Zealand, but of specific local points on that map – a view, a valley, a road, a private place. I believe each of us carries such a treasured image within us wherever we are, and it helps us know who we are, helps define us to ourselves and others. It’s an experience, or visual version of the curl of hair lovers used to wear close to their heart, cased in a silver locket, and never removed.
Many New Zealanders know this lingering power of the landscape, and painters like me try to give it a form, to show what it feels like for me, and why it might matter. Writers do it in careful words dredged from their hearts. Photographers look for the moment which can deliver that memorable image, and make it more significant still. We all do it because it matters, and we care.
So we care about the protection of these landscapes, and believe absolutely that they are an essential part of our New Zealandness.
I wish all strength to the arms of those who are making these Parks a reality, and thank them for the gift they represent: to remain preserved as places of deep and natural pleasure, the eternal symbols of what it’s like being us, and where we belong.”