She’s queen of the castle


Ever since she was little, Dot Smith wanted to be a princess in a castle. It was always just a dream, but that fantasy has become reality as her castle – complete with moat, dungeon and secret tunnel – is now taking shape.

And as if that project wasn’t enough, she’s also writing a book.

Random House offered her the opportunity to write a story of her life, the gardens, her giftshop Riverstone Country and, of course, her castle.

It’s going to be on the shelves for Mother’s Day next year, so time is running out to write it.

“I’m busy fishing out all of the information I needed and thinking up my whole past,” she said.

“It’s my life right through from being a baby to nowadays and what’s made me who I am, why am I such a different person from everyone else.”

The book is being co-written Nathalie Brown – it’s nice to keep things local, she said.

The title has not yet been decided, but the front page will have a castle theme.

Her life has been enriched by travel, starting at age 19, she has been to Eastern Europe, Russia and Germany just 20 years after the war, when everything was “fresh and raw and scary”.

One of her most recent adventures was a garden tour to England with an architect 18 months ago, for inspiration for castles and gardens.

She’s working with Wanaka-based architect Sarah Scott, who has accepted all of Mrs Smith’s ideas without needing to explain herself.


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