Love affair in photos

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You can judge a book by its cover – when the author is Grahame Sydney and Queenstown’s threatened Nevis Valley graces the front. 

New photographic work Grahame Sydney’s Central Otago is simply the man and his camera chronicling an enduring love affair with the Nevis and other Central Otago scenes which Sydney variously labels austere, raw, bleak, remote and harsh. 

The leading painter, author and environmental activist says the Nevis – just behind the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown – “very importantly” features on the cover. 

“I’m naturally concerned about the threats to the Nevis,” Sydney says. 

“It’s the last unmodified river in Central Otago of any scale and I hate the thought there’s a threat hanging over it. 

“It’s a very favourite place of mine that has to be preserved at all costs – it’s so close to Queenstown as the crow flies and yet very few people know about it,” he says. 

Pioneer Generation, a subsidiary of the do-good Central Lakes Trust, wants to flood the backcountry Nevis for hydro dams. 

The Nevis is Sydney’s third electricity-generation battle after previously cam­­paign­­­­ing – unsuccessfully – against the Clyde Dam in the 1970s and the giant Project Hayes windfarm 70km northwest of Dunedin between 2006-10. 

The Nevis features twice among the 150 oversize colour plates in this lavish $95 coffee-table and gift book.