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 out of 10.
Philip Holden’s first book, Pack and Rifle, has been reprinted in four editions and many thousands of copies since it first hit book shelves in 1971 — and with good reason, it is often quoted as being a hunter’s favourite book and the book which inspired them to seek the thrill of the hunt. It is quite simply a classic New Zealand hunting book … read more
Review rating 4.5 out of 10.
From Hoon to Hunter is an autobiographical yarn about the stalking highlights of Vern Wilson’s hunting career. Its focus is New Zealand’s big game animals as opposed to his second book which covers overseas hunts … 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 6 out of 10.
The Modern Hunter is the latest introductory hunting guide book to be released. It covers everything a novice hunter needs to learn and is presented in an easy to understand way. Highly recommended for the beginner hunter … read more
Review rating 6.5 out of 10.
The Sika Hunters is a compilation of stories and photos featuring exceptional trophy sika heads shot between 1993 and 2008. The heads were all entered into the annual Sika Show at Taupo near the deer’s home range in Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forrest Parks. This book also includes insightful chapters from renound modern day sika hunters … read more
Review rating 6.5 out of 10.
Here The Hunter reviews Bob Pittaway’s most recent book, The Lure of the Hills, which recounts Bob’s deer hunting experiences, mainly in the North Island. It covers the time from his first encounter with fallow deer some 50 years ago to his more recent hunts for trophy red deer stags … read more
Review rating 5.5 out of 10
Kerry Butler’s revised book is a how-to guide for bush stalking deer in North Island conditions. As a self taught and experienced sika and red deer stalker, Kerry passes on his passion and techniques for hunting … read more
Review rating 6.5 out of 10
There have been many books written about deer culling exploits in New Zealand and Don’s autobiography is a great addition on the subject. However this book provides a welcome change with a focus on the North Island and also details early tests using 1080 poison to control deer numbers. This book is a must read for New Zealand hunting purists … read more