Saturday, 8 March 2008

Hunting Kiwis

The Kiwi hunting culture has been in my thoughts lately, (better buy a bigger couch BoB), partially prompted by the aforementioned writings of Mr Crump, and by the copy of NZ Outdoor Hunting our mum brought back from a recent visit to see BoB, Mrs BoB and the Princess E (AKA the Littlest BoBster).

There’s an adage in bushcraft that ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing’ reports seem to suggest that these words may if fact form part of the New Zealand constitution. As they say on the south island ‘if you can’t see the top of the mountain it’s raining, if you can see the top of the mountain it’s about to rain’.

If ever there was a country generously endowed with mountains it’s NZ, they have their own Alps where Sir Edmund Hilary trained for his successful attempt on Everest. If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings you’ll have a good idea of what the place looks like. If you’ve seen the ads currently running on UK TV you’ll know why I’m so keen. Viewed at a distance of half a world away the place seems to have a romance the suburban bush just lacks - I go fishing across town by scooter; they go fishing across mountains by helicopter. The hills they hover over are alive, not with the sound of music, but with the thunderous hooves of Red Stags and Elk. It’s so alive with them that the Rut is called ‘The Roar’ and the Kiwi’s have their own collective noun for deer – ‘a mob’.
There are other linguistic differences ‘Alright mate’ is a greeting not a proposition, and all utterances sound like questions, with rising intonation at the end of the sentence. BoB has enthusiastically taken on this linguistic tic, much to the amusement of his family and friends. Despite being a native daughter of New Zealand Mrs BoB speaks perfectly normally.

To read about it the place sounds like a nation founded by hunters, the Maori people brought pigs with them during their invasion and colonisation of the islands, and so did the British. These creatures have re-wilded themselves in the bush and grow to some pretty impressive sizes. Deer, Elk, Hare, Turkey, Pheasant and Mountain Goats have all been introduced and with no other predators are putting unsustainable pressure on the environment. So once again the ‘culinary solution’ must be deployed to save the environment! Yummy!

The contrast to life in the city was brought home to me when I saw that NZ Outdoor Hunting had published some pictures from the memory stick of a camera that was found in the back country, secure in the knowledge that someone would recognise the guy in the pictures and organise its return to him. Are these the nicest people in the world?
Maybe the old joke isn’t so much a joke as an advertisement

What do you call a polite Australian?
A New Zealander!

Will these crudely drawn stereotypes prove to be true?
Stay tuned.
Your pal

Photo credit

3 comments: said...

Yeah, NZ is my first choice - tall mountains, forest, ocean, Beautiful! A great country for bushcraft.

Anonymous said...

I have friends who have been to New Zealand and they said it was absolutely beautiful. It is on my list of places to see someday.

Ken said...

Your mention of wild pigs in New Zealand brings this to mind. I used to know a state hunter working for California. He spent some time in the vicinity of Hearst's Castle near San Simeon hunting wild pigs. The pigs had been a part of Hearst's menagerie (God knows why?) and had gone wild. They ranged in size anywhere from 50 to 350 pounds and many of them had tuberculosis. The brush was so thick he had to hunt from horseback and use a magnum revolver. I think I'd have been happier with a .50 caliber, myself.

Ken Harris