Chrissie Fernyhough is a contributing author in the book and this is her granddaughter and dog Chrissie Fernyhough is a contributing author in the book and this is her granddaughter and dog CREDIT: HMC Communications

Classic NZ 'back country' stories raise $25,000 charity

Monday 7 November 2011, 7:57AM
By Katherine Tozer


Cambridge author Katherine Tozer has spent three years compiling a series of books detailing the intimate nature of ‘working dogs’ and their owners in back country New Zealand – and she’s done it all for charity.

Her series of three books, Tales from the Back Country¸are being offered to charities throughout New Zealand for their use as a fundraising mechanism. The first book in the series raised $25,000 for Hospice, SPCA, the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, apieceofnz and numerous schools and community groups.

Katherine is looking to partner with additional charities that need an innovative fundraising tool.

Katherine says she and her husband, Peter, make no money from the books and are reimbursed only the printing cost with all profits - $15 of each $25 copy - donated to a range of charities. “It has been great fun exploring and meeting such interesting people and writing their stories. It is so rewarding to do something you love and know it is going to benefit others - not everyone has that opportunity.”
Tales from the Back Country is a compilation of working dog and other stories as told to Katherine Tozer by the men and women who have carved out a living in New Zealand’s remote, but beautiful and rugged landscape.

Katherine is a Waikato scientist and author with a passion for the wide open spaces and mountain ranges – “New Zealand has breath-taking beauty and a wealth of back country stories just waiting to be told!”

Katherine spends her spare time with her GP husband Peter, exploring the varied and beautiful back country in the North and South Islands, photographing, interviewing, researching and compiling material for Tales from the Back Country.

After completing the first book in 2010, Katherine was eager to embark on a second and third book. The second and third books in the Tales from the Back Country series, completed in October 2011, have 100 pages, are packed with photos of stunning scenery and have a range of stories from 24 different people throughout New Zealand.

“The books have happy and sad stories, from people like John Perriam, owner of the deceased Shrek the sheep, who speaks of the challenges of being a high country author, or Chrissie Fernyhough who has written about the death of one of her favourite working dogs.”

“Another great story is of Laurie Prouting from Mesopotamia in Canterbury who humourously describes climbing Mt Cook and flying a helicopter in Antarctica when his fuel reserves ran low. The white ice-breaker on which he was to land had moved to an unknown location in the sea of white pack-ice – it was akin to having to find a polar bear in a snow storm!

Tales from the Back Country has been printed in New Zealand by Hamilton-based PrintHouse. Katherine says that working with PrintHouse has been amazing. “They really got behind this project and are an example of a commercial kiwi company who is willing to go out of their way to help others.”

Katherine’s next two books in the series are available from early November for fundraising. Charities wanting information should email Katherine and Peter at Books can be purchased through Hospice Waikato, Waikato SPCA and for $25.

Sample pages of all three books can also be viewed at There is also a youtube clip: