New Zealand’s Hunting Legends by Kevin J. Whitelaw

RRP$19.90 | Published 2016

The well known and widely read bi-monthly magazine New Zealand Rod & Rifle have published a collection of articles written for the magazine by Kevin J. Whitelaw based on his series detailing the hunting histories of 20 of New Zealand’s most renowned trophy hunters of the past. The compilation is entitled New Zealand’s Hunting Legends.

It is without doubt that this publication is going to be sought after and eagerly read. It has all the right ingredients: famous stalkers, historic photos, record book heads, and lots of interesting old nuggets of information. In particular, any book that canvases either wapiti hunting in Fiordland or the good ol’ halcyon days of the Otago herd’s red stag stalking past is sure to be highly prized.

Those who subscribe or regularly read the magazine will of course be familiar with the contents but I think it was a good idea to combine the articles under a single cover.

Essentially published in magazine format it has a modern feel and layout but uses sepia-tones and black & white images to create a feeling that it is an old treasure you would find in the back of your granddad’s bookshelf. The layout of the stories and photos is firmly contemporary, however.

New Zealand’s Hunting Legends is informative, inspirational, and well researched by Whitelaw. The legendary hunters covered are:

  • John Forbes
  • Kenneth Dalrymple
  • Major Wilson
  • Harold Hodgkinson
  • Con Hodgkinson
  • Robert Hill
  • Eddie Herrick
  • Vivian Donald
  • Alex Sutherland
  • Ken Sutherland
  • Newton McConochie
  • George Humphrey
  • Jim Muir
  • Ian McLeod
  • Gordon Atkinson
  • Percy Lyes
  • Allan Harrison
  • Jack Luttrell
  • Zeff Veronese
  • Philip Holden

When I purchased my two copies Rod & Rifle had not put a limit on the number you could acquire but at the time of this review there is now a limit of three. Obviously some keen readers were snapping up multiple copies in a single order. It’s worth bearing in mind that the value in these types of books is mainly reflected in their scarcity so if many copies are printed they will not generate a high resale value.

A note of caution too, my reading copy is already showing signs of wear and tear so do be careful how you treat this book if you want to keep it in your collection.

A little bit of gloss was taken off this book for me because there are a smattering of typos. Perhaps in time we will see this book reprinted in a nicely bound hardback edition which fixes up the slight editing issues, elaborates on some of the stalkers and adds more photos – because I’m sure Whitelaw has a wealth of additional information he couldn’t fit into the magazine articles.

You can get a copy directly from the Rod & Rifle website and why not take up a subscription when you’re there.

The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it

The Hunter’s ratings are:

  • Overall rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • Photos and illustrations: 5 out of 5
  • Trophy quality: 5 out of 5
  • Writing quality and style: 3 out of 5
  • Page-turner status: 4 out of 5

Publisher’s blurb

For your information the following is the book’s blurb:

We are inherently a community of keen hunters who, if we’re not hunting, enjoy reading about hunting. I have above all tried to encapsulate the remarkable adventures of a tier of unique New Zealand rifle folk and sportspeople as they strived physically and mentally to gain the special reward of a trophy game animal. I am merely the story teller though: they are the real ‘stars’ — Kevin J Whitelaw.

Bibliographic information

Title: New Zealand’s Hunting Legends
Author: Kevin J. Whitelaw
Editions: 2016
Publisher: Real Creative Media Ltd (publisher of Rod & Rifle magazine)
ISBN: 978-0-473-36996-5
Format: A4 magazine format, soft paper cover, 131 pages, black & white photos and illustrations

Book review of New Zealand’s Hunting Legends by Kevin J. Whitelaw book review