In this award-winning episode of the Rivers series, photographer Craig Potton visits Canterbury’s Rangitata River. The great braided river is home to the rare wrybill, and the landscape has provided inspiration for Samuel Butler (utopian satire Erewhon) and Peter Jackson (Mount Sunday is Edoras in Lord of the Rings). It’s been shaped by glaciers, the nor’wester, irrigation and farming. In this excerpt Potton and climbing mates try to reach the fabled Garden of Eden ice plateau and the river’s “pure heart”; a mission Potton and friend Robbie Burton failed to complete 30 years before.
I’ve been photographing New Zealand landscapes — just like these — for 40 years. I just love it. It’s my passion: making art out out of the mountains, out of the forests, out of the coastline … and out of our rivers. For me, they are the arteries that connect everything together.– Craig Potton
Made with funding from NZ On Air