New Zealand’s Remotest Family Resurfaces

As you are no doubt aware, the Adult Literacy Trust caters for Kiwis who live in isolated areas. It will come as no surprise then that we are fascinated by the Long family.

You may have heard of the Longs – husband Robert, wife Catherine and children Christan and Robin – who are no strangers to the media spotlight since the 2010 release of Robert’s autobiography ‘A Life on Gorge River: New Zealand’s Remotest Family’, published by Random House.

The Longs live in a hut in the South Island that is two days’ walk from civilisation. Robert has been living remotely for over 30 years, his wife for over 20 years and children (17 and 20 years old), their entire lives.

According to the Random House website, ‘A Life on Gorge River’ is a recount of “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.”

The Longs have resurfaced on the radar recently, with an article on the Stuff website in early July publicising the family’s appearance on an episode of the UK television show ‘Where the Wild Men Are’. According to the article, the Long episode is one of the show’s frontman, Ben Fogle’s, favourites.

The Stuff article went into very little detail in regards to the Longs but it reawakened many curiosities about this family. It would be interesting, five years from the release of Robert’s book, to learn how the family is doing now, especially from the perspective of the ‘children’.
‘Where the Wild Men Are’ isn’t the Longs first television appearance. In 2013, they were on the Inside New Zealand documentary ‘Wildman’. In this documentary, we learnt that Christan and Robin were home schooled until they were older and decided to go to the ‘local’ school (in the loosest sense of the word).

Only time will tell whether Christan and Robin will continue living with their parents on the Gorge River or whether they’ll spread their wings and venture into civilisation. Either way, it certainly seems the children have been enriched, rather than limited, by their remote lifestyle.

For the full article on Stuff, please visit: