Wairata is a fictitious settlement set in the inland valleys of the North Taranaki Bight, on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. This part of New Zealand is quite remote and rugged even today, and is now farmed by a hardy group of sheep and beef farmers who carve out a living from the hills. Wairata is just like dozens of small towns in New Zealand that sprang up and flourished as the country was developed in the 1800's. Some were centred around rail heads and rail links, some around sawmills and mines, some just sprang up because they were a stopover on the coach roads where travellers could rest for the night and teams of horses could be spelled or swapped for fresh ones. The lives of these small towns was often precarious and short. Mines would close, mills shut down, or routes change, and the towns would wither and die, often taking with them the local history, good or bad, of the surrounding area and of the people who had lived there. This book was written to remind us all that everyone, young or old, has a story to tell, and our lives can be richer if we would only take the time to stop and listen.
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