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.
Review rating 8.5 out of 10.
Originally published as a series of 20 articles for Rod & Rifle magazine, Whitelaws interesting stories about notable, historical New Zealand hunting figures have been compiled and printed under one binding … read more
Review rating 8.5 out of 10.
In his third book, The Red Stags of the Rakaia, Bruce Banwell records the history of the trophy red deer herd released among the Southern Alps at Manuka Point station in the Rakaia gorge. Again, he has added an invaluable work on New Zealand’s deerstalking heritage … read more
Review rating 7.5 out of 10.
Prepared on behalf of the Otago Acclimatisation Society, Peter Harker records the history of the introduction of deer to Otago in this profusely illustrated book. With a focus on red deer and their famous trophy heads, there are also interesting chapters about fallow deer, sika and chital … read more
One hundred New Zealand deer heads were assembled in 1906-7 at Christchurch for an exhibition. An illustrated pamphlet was produced to provide the visitors with information about the various deer herds located around New Zealand and the great trophy heads on display. This display was organised by the ‘father’ of New Zealand big game hunting, Mr. T. E. Donne, with the pamphlet written by E. Hardcastle … read more
Review rating 9 out of 10.
Bruce Banwell has complied and edited the diaries written by great deerstalker, Archie Kitto, to produce this work about stalking trophy red deer heads of the Otago and South Westland herds during the 1920s and 1930s … read more
Review rating 4.5 out of 10.
In 2012 the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association celebrated its 75th year and to commemorate that milestone the Association published this book … read more
Review rating 9.5 out of 10.
Bruce Banwell’s highly recommended, desirable, and classic work, Highland Stags of Otago (1968), embodies all the characteristics of its subject matter, the trophy royal red deer stag, and is so eloquently illustrated by its cover image “The Monarch of the Glen“. It is a “trophy book” of the highest order … read more
Review rating 6 out of 10.
Social historian Kate Hunter has researched and compiled a book on the history and culture of hunting and hunters in New Zealand. She recognised hunting’s core role in the identity of New Zealanders and that ‘hunting’s story’ needed to be told … read more
Review rating 6.5 out of 10.
A great book for your coffee table, The Heart of Hunting is a beautifully presented photo book showcasing New Zealand’s wildlife in all its forms. The authors have undertaken the impossible task of articulating what it means to be a hunter … read more