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 9 out of 10.
A kiwi hunting classic, Newton’s epic stories about a bygone time should be read by all hunters. His stalking exploits are legendary and his trophies are some of the most recognised in New Zealand hunting circles. He recounts stalks for majestic red stags and wapiti bulls, in each case taken under testing circumstances … 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 5 out of 10.
Guns & Game is a short book of eclectic chapters, covering the rarer deer herds (sambar, white-tailed deer, moose and chital), how to hunt, ballistics and other interesting ‘guns’ and ‘game’ subjects. It is written by the experienced and respected author, Lynn Harris … read more
Review rating 7.5 out of 10.
Max Curtis, of Fiordland moose hunting and red deer culling fame, writes about his hunting experiences in his autobiography (the first of two), ‘Beyond the River’s Bend: Tales of Red Deer, Moose and Wapiti in New Zealand’. It includes the only first-hand account about the third and last ever bull moose shot in Fiordland … read more
Review rating 6 out of 10.
In The Travelling Hunter, one of New Zealand’s master trophy hunters writes about his personal experiences stalking North American and African big game animals — within its pages you’ll find entertaining and enlightening chapters on shooting trophy caribou, moose, Dall’s sheep, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk (wapiti), Cape buffalo, sable, impala, oryx (gemsbok) and kudu … read more
Review rating 5.5 out of 10
James Passmore has written his second book about what it means to be a “wilderness hunter”, the type of hunter which he confesses to be himself. James mixes South Island hunts for red deer, fallow deer and tahr with chapters on the challenges and ethics of hunting… read more