11 Jan 2020

Photographer Stuart Macdonald discovers a different side of New Zealand

From The Weekend, 8:40 am on 11 January 2020

For the past ten years photographer Stuart Macdonald has travelled around the country on his trusty motorbike, taking pictures of New Zealand that aren't traditional picture-postcard fare.

He aims to capture the country in a truthful, but slightly different way - taking photos of remote areas, hidden treasures, and less-visited areas. 

Long drops and abandoned buildings are among the treasures he's photographed along the way.

Macdonald tells Lynn Freeman he doesn’t mind sitting around for hours in order to get the perfect shot.

“I actually find that’s the joy of landscape photography. If you’re a bit of an introvert like me, the solitude of the whole thing, just sitting there and being in the place and all you can hear is the odd bird.

“I enjoy that. I enjoy the peace and solitude of it. So, I’ll sit and wait and get it right.”

Macdonald has a love of Kiwi buildings and one of his images – the Kia Ora Dairy – is immediately recognisable to anyone who grew up in the country, but they are slowly disappearing.

“To me, that’s 100 percent Kiwiana. It’s blue, it’s got the Tip Top signage… there are actually Kia Ora dairies in quite a few places, but that one always captures me because it’s symmetrically perfect.”

Another iconic building is the small church near Taihape. Macdonald says it’s a Māori church he’d wanted to find for years.

“It’s just so beautiful. It sits there on its own, there’s a small cemetery where people are buried and you can tell people still go there, they still love the place.”