Sara McIntyre first discovered the rugged beauty of the King Country when she was 9 years old.
With her mother Patti, younger brother Simon and her father, the acclaimed painter and author Peter McIntyre, she got her first glimpse of the landscape driving over the Waituhi Saddle in the family Vauxhall.
Years later McIntyre would return to live in Kākahi where she found work as a district nurse and, while doing her rounds, she captured a collection of beautiful photographic images.
McIntyre's images of the landscape, the buildings and the people of the area have now been collated into a book titled Observations of a Rural Nurse and her exhibition of the same name will be showing at the Sarjeant Gallery from Saturday, June 27.
Although McIntyre has owned a camera and taken photos since childhood, her nursing career took precedence and included 16 years of neo-natal nursing.
"It was quite gruelling at times," she said.
"When I came back to live in Kākahi, I had become very specialised and had to relearn some things but it didn't take long for me to love travelling and the variety of the work."
Her rounds would take her as far as National Park, Ōhura, Waimiha, Whakahoro "along many a gravel road".
Her photographs appear to be carefully composed - almost as if they have been painted with a brush rather than captured through a lens.
"I don't think too hard before I take them," McIntyre said.
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"I see what I want to capture and I take them quickly."
And the painting-like quality of the images?
"That could be due to the influence of having a landscape painter for a father.
"I did go on expeditions with him when he was looking for scenes to paint."
Her book is dedicated to her late parents Patti and Peter McIntyre and her love and admiration for them both is evident in the text of the book along with recollections of her childhood adventures in Kākahi.
Like most children of their generation, young Sara and Simon, along with neighbouring children and visiting cousins like Shona, were allowed to roam the landscape on their own and a passage in the book describes one outing that might have been fatal.
"On one expedition, Shona and I attempted to cross the Whanganui River, holding Simon between us — he was too small to touch the bottom. We were halfway across when a grim-faced Patti and Peter emerged from the bush, looking for us. There were repercussions."
Simon McIntyre has written the foreword for his sister's book and recalls that she showed early promise as a photographer while he would become a painter like his father.
"Sara's interest in all things photographic has never waned, and Kākahi in the King Country became her testing ground — family picnics, the river, the locals. Her photographs of this subject matter were always vastly superior to my own so I soon realised I should stick to painting."
McIntyre recalls that her brother bought her a Pentax SLR camera to replace the Instamatic 110 she used while travelling overseas.
She now uses an iPhone for some of her photographs.
Among the images of rural life in Observations of a Rural Nurse is a photograph of McIntyre's old friend Manu Lala.
His family has run the Kākahi General Store for over 60 years and when McIntyre asked if she could photograph him in his store, he began fossicking around rearranging his shelf of secondhand Peter McIntyre books.
"I have a few photographs of the store, but this is the one about Manu," McIntyre said.
McIntyre's book, published by Massey University Press, is available at Paige's Book Gallery and Paper Plus in Whanganui.
The official opening for the exhibition Observations of a Rural Nurse will be held at Sarjeant on the Quay on Friday, July 10, and on Saturday, July 11, McIntyre will join curator and public programmes manager Greg Donson for a conversation about her work at Sarjeant on the Quay at 11am. The events are free and all are welcome.