Mt Alfred sits at the center of it all: at the head of Lake Wakatipu, between the Dart and Rees River Valleys, overlooking Kinloch, Glenorchy and Paradise, and completely surrounded by the Southern Alps. This region is known all over the world as one of the most beautiful places on earth.
But in 1862, it was particularly special for two people. It was where they fell in love. One of the first shepherds to the Wakatipu region at the time, Alfred Duncan met Ruahine, a Maori maiden who was camping on Diamond Lake with her family. It is said that Duncan named the region after how he feels when he is by Ruahine’s side, a name we all know to this day: Paradise.
Sadly, Duncan and Ruahine were hastily split apart. Upon hearing news of an incoming enemy tribe, Ruahine’s family abruptly left the region, and never returned.
Ruahine left Duncan a farewell note written on tree bark and a tress of her hair.
“Although I go at the command of my chief, my heart is with you, and when I die, which soon I shall, my spirit will return to our own Paradise and hover over it forever.”
We like to think that their love still lives, that their bond is what continues to make the region so beautiful and special.