Author(s): Dougal Rillstone
Dougal Rillstone was born in Gore, close to the Mataura River, over seventy years ago. The river was both swimming pool and playground during his childhood. One summer's evening, while he stood chest deep in a long pool, facing downstream towards the fading light, he became mesmerised by the sight of rippling rings left by rising trout on the otherwise smooth surface. He has been haunted by moving water ever since.
In Upstream on the Mataura, Dougal has captured the essence of his lifelong connection with the Mataura River. While angling, and fly-fishing in particular, anchor his attachment, the book is as much a meditation on landscape and moving water as it is about angling. It is also about the communities the river runs through, the friendships sustained by fly-fishing, and a love of the river and its tributaries.
The first section of the book offers a clear-eyed view of the beauty, challenges and hardship involved in his 240-kilometre walk upstream from the coast at Fortrose to the source of the river, in the Eyre Mountains. Following are twelve stories that traverse his connection with the river, from his earliest recollections through to the present time.
Shortlisted for the Heritage Literary Awards 2020
"Dougal is one of New Zealand's best fly fishers. And now he has written one of the most original and moving accounts of a foot journey from sea to source of his home river, the glorious, abundant and now-threatened Mataura River in Southland. It is a unique, devoted and illuminating record of a pilgrimage, an adventure into memory, a detailed discourse on aspirations, reflections, activities and surroundings, and a passionate plea for the protection of our rivers. A magnificent and wonderfully important book." - Kevin Ireland
Dougal Rillstone was born in Gore, close to the Mataura River, just over 70 years ago and owns a fishing cottage close to his beloved Mataura. Educated at the University of Otago, his business career included directorships of a range of companies, including The Southland Dairy Coop, New Zealand Dairy Foods and Port Otago. Dougal has fly-fished in many parts of the world and pilots his own light aircraft. His writing has been published in quality magazines Flylife in Australia, and Gray's Sporting Journal in the USA. Dougal now lives in Dunedin with his second wife.