I had been aware of the existence of the ‘original’ New Zealand hunting magazine, The New Zealand Fishing and Shooting Gazette, which was the forerunner of our current suite of glossy hunting magazines, but I was only recently inspired to visit the Alexander Turnbull Library Collection to see original copies held there following a discussion about our hunting literature heritage with a like-minded friend.
Over the years many books and articles refer to, or take excerpts from, the Gazette’s pages. Even the late, great author, D. Bruce Banwell was helped most recently when writing his interesting biography about Archie Kitto, one of our most accomplished deer stalkers from the early part of last century, by incorporating Kitto’s original articles — he was a regular contributor to the Gazette.
So intrigued by the Gazette’s contents, I’ve decided to publish a selection of the hunting articles and editorials because the Gazette cannot be read online owing to the fact that none of the Gazettes have been digitized (I asked the librarian if there was any intention to do so and was told it would be too costly and in any event low priority as it was too esoteric). Most hunting book collectors won’t have copies of their own so given this I hope to bring some light to the old stories so that a new generation of readers can see the stories, editorials, and correspondence first hand.
What is interesting, and will soon become apparent once you have read a reasonable body of the Gazette, is the fact that the debates and issues around hunting and big game have not changed in substance in over 100 years. Deer were first brought to New Zealand in 1850 and have been loved and loathed in equal measure ever since. The merits of what constitutes a trophy are a perennial debate.
You can read the initial Editorial from November 1, 1927 and a collection of interesting excerpts here.
Over time I will post more articles in chronological order. These will be copy-typed but will be accompanied by the original photos.
Like I have, I hope you enjoy reading the Gazette.