Clarence River cookbook shares recipes for recovery

6:39 pm on 10 December 2016

A Clarence River rafting guide has launched a cookbook sharing local stories from before and after the area was rocked by last month's earthquake.

Genevieve King and Julia Macfarlane at the Christchurch book launch.

Genevieve King, right, and Julia Macfarlane at the Christchurch book launch. Photo: Supplied

But just two weeks ago, Genevieve King had given up on the book ever being published.

Ms King had her first-ever book at the printers and was on the river with a rafting group at Quail Flat, when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit on 14 November.

She and her group were quickly choppered out in the aftermath, with Ms King returning to the massively uplifted valley and a newly formed rapid next to her now red-stickered cottage in Clarence River, around 30 minutes north of Kaikōura.

She said following the quake, the book had been the last thing on her mind.

"There were far bigger fish to fry. The cottage had fallen down and there was some pretty big issues at home with getting water to stock and all sorts. So yeah, the book was not important," she said.

Then family stepped in, without her even knowing.

"So my brother's partner [Julia Macfarlane] was a little bit of a quiet lifesaver there. She's a graphic designer and she quietly went ahead and called the printers, got the proofs, got her mum, her aunt, her grandmother all crowded around proofreading and got it all sent off."

Ms King said they had seen the value in a book that celebrated Clarence River pre-quake with pictures, history, and local recipes.

"She wasn't going to let a little, or a rather large, earthquake stop it from happening just before Christmas. It had to happen."

Locals at Sandy Bay prior to the November earthquake.

Locals at Sandy Bay prior to the November earthquake. Photo: Supplied

The cookbook, Valley Gatherings, has now become a marker in time between quake and pre-quake, as acknowledged in a paragraph added to the front of the book at the last minute.

"At the time this book was going to print our world was turned upside down ... As I sit writing this perched on a new bank about 20 metres higher than it was last week, looking out over newly sculpted paddocks to a new Grade 5 rapid in the Clarence River, I get the feeling there are a few more stories to be shared from this beautiful valley and it's incredibly resilient people.

"Let's just call this a prequel shall we."

Ms King made the seven hour drive down to Christchurch to get the book this week.

"There's photos and local snippets of people's kitchens that are now red-zoned and hillsides which have now slid away."

The book launched in Christchurch last night is to be followed by another launch at Sandy Bay, near Clarence, tomorrow.

"It's marking four weeks, a month on from the quake, and it will just be a great chance for everybody to come and see how we are all doing and have a hug.

"There's a large photo in the book of all the locals gathered on Boxing Day at Sandy Bay and the sea's lapping against the rocks. And if you take a photo in that same sport now you have got about 200 metres of sandy beach out in front of you."

$3 dollars from each sale of Valley Gatherings will go toward a Clarence quake recovery fund.

Sandy Bay post the November earthquake.

Sandy Bay post the November earthquake. Photo: Supplied

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