Author(s): Robert Long
Robert Long and his family - wife Catherine, and children Christan (17) and Robyn (14) - live in complete isolation, in a hut two days' walk south of Haast in South Westland. Robert has lived there for nearly 30 years; Catherine for 20 and the kids all their lives. Their only contact with the outside world is a helicopter or plane once a month, and two trips a year to the 'outside world'. This is the story of how and why Robert - known locally as 'Beansprout' - came to live at Gorge River, and the family's experiences there over the years, living self-sufficiently and forging close bonds with the natural environment. It is an inspiring tale of one man's decision to 'drop out' of capitalist society and successfully establish a lifestyle most New Zealanders can't even imagine, harking back to the days of the earliest pioneers.
Robert Long moved to Gorge River in 1980, after dropping out of medical school. He is a talented artist and makes a living for his family from painting and carving, and acting as custodian of DOC's Gorge River hut.