First screening for Ashburton

Ray Prouting, who grew up on Mesopotamia Station, and wife Margaret are looking forward to the screening of Mesopotamia Station in the 1950s and 1960s this month.
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A vintage film showing life on a high country station will screen at Ashburton’s Regent Cinema this month.

Mesopotamia Station in the 1950s and 1960s features footage shot by the station’s late farmer Malcolm Prouting.

His son Ray Prouting is looking forward to the screening, which will be the first ever in Mid Canterbury.

Ray said he wanted to show it in the district as there had been many people from Mid Canterbury involved with the station that he had talked to over the years.

In addition it would be a fundraiser for a Gideons International conference to be held in Methven in September.

The movie has only ever been shown three times before, all at the Geraldine Cinema, after its release in 2021.

It features original home movies put together by production editor Sam Miller, who coverted them into digital format with sound effects and narration. It was a threehour movie, which has today been cut back to two hours.

Ray was one of eight children for Malcolm and wife Thelma. Born in 1946, he grew up on the station, and as such features in the movie alongside his siblings and parents. Family scenes include playing in the snow, feeding out hay and caring for pet farm animals. It also has a little about school life at the now closed Mesopotamia School.

It also includes footage of a royal visit in the 1960s, when Prince Charles and Princess Anne flew into one of the station’s mustering huts from where they were staying on nearby Mt Peel Station. Named The New Hut at the time, it later changed to The Royal Hut after the visit.

Mostly the movie is about the many farm activities undertaken in the operation of a busy high country station, including events such as autumn mustering and challenging river crossings.

Ray and his family narrated the film with their personal stories of high country life.

Ray and wife Margaret today live in Geraldine, where they retired in 2000 after themselves having bought a part of Mesopotamia and farming it. Today Mesopotamia, on the south side of the Rangitata River, is farmed by Ray’s nephew Malcolm Prouting.

* Mesopotamia Station in the 1950s and 1960s will screen at the Regent Cinema, Ashburton, at 4pm on June 22.