Across Canterbury, Dick Tripp is one of those living legends of the church. Dick is a retired Anglican minister, very active and supportive of all sorts of Christian mission regionally, nationally and globally. He’s the author of several books, including some in our own church library, and his series of booklets hosted on his website have been a help to many.
His latest book however, The Hero from Nithdale Station, isn’t his usual writing of explaining and defending the Christian faith. Instead, it’s a biography of his father, Charles Tripp. Dick warmly and lovingly dives into both the archives and his own memory to write engagingly of his parents. In particular, he writes of Charles Tripp’s exploits in buying and running a farm (the ‘Nithdale Station’ of the title) in Southland, and his role in World War Two as a major in the army fighting in the Pacific.
At just 81 pages, this is not a long read (indeed, I read it on a recent Christchurch to Auckland plane trip), but is a lovely telling of New Zealand history through the eyes of a son. However, Dick does not veer into mere sentimentality; he attempts to accurately record the motivations of his father both on the farm and at war.
I recommend this short book to anyone who has an interest in the stories of great ordinary New Zealanders, tales of how our back country was converted to farms, and of modest leadership.
Review: Tim Hodge
Publisher’s note: The last chapter of the book is the Christian testimony of the author.