Nick France

Nick France, or "Francy" as we call him, is also a top hunting mate of mine, sharing similar principles towards game management in New Zealand as myself. Having hunted in various parts of the world including 5 months in the Yukon - Canada; Francy has seen the important role that game management can achieve in balancing recreational / cultural interests alonside conservation values and commercial incentives.

Having completed his Honours Degree in Accounting and Finance through the University of Otago, followed by three years work experience for an Accounting firm - Francy is a fully Chartered Accountant and Finance Broker. His passion for the outdoors, coupled with his interest for farming, has placed him in a good position to buy and operate his own farm somewhere in Canterbury with his wife Penny and daughter Blaise.

While I was studying at Lincoln, Francy and I mainly hunted for red stags and bull tahr together. His eagerness for tahr matched my eagerness for stalking red deer, and for several years we camped in the backcountry swapping stories over a fire and revising maps of probable country for trophies. Our last hunt was in the Australian State of Victoria where we stalked Sambar deer for five days during November 2008.

Geoff Kerr

Geoff Kerr is a senior lecturer at Lincoln University who taught me for several papers throughout my degree - one of which I nearly failed!!! We have been hunting mates since 2003 after our first (successful) chamois hunt in Arthurs Pass. Since then we have enjoyed chasing reds, tahr, fallow, and pigs throughout Canterbury and Otago.

During my research year as a Masters student, I would regularly drop into Geoffs office to stew over topo maps and strategise new hunting pastures. Between the two of us we had hunted the majority of Canterbury and Otago highcountry catchments and we openly shared hunting information.

It was common for us to leave Uni for a mid week over-nighter, or pop out for cheeky morning or afternoon hunt.

Dan Curley

Dan Curley is without fail, one of the most seasoned hunters that Ive hunted with. His patience and unselfishness while stalking game has resulted in many fine trophies taken not only by himself, but many of his hunting companions. He is also one of the most hilariously witty blokes and will literally have you rolling in stitches around the campfire.

Curley and I first started hunting together in 2001 while studying the same Environment Management Degree at Lincoln University. It took us the best part of two years to fully appreciate and understand the lay of the land where animals prefered to be (and not to be) in not only Canterbury, but the Kaikouras, Lake Sumner, Lewis Pass, Hamner Springs, Arthurs Pass, Westland, South Westland, Mt Cook, Twizel, and more recently Wanaka and Queenstown.

Curley has worked for Patersons Pitts Planning consultancy in Wanaka with over 3 years working experience and has been based in Wanaka since 2005. He has contributed extensively to the development of Wanaka through his role as an Environmental / Town Planner. For the last few months (Sept 09 - Feb 2010) Curley has been travelling the South Pacific and South East Asia; bitten well and truly by the travel bug and intent on returning to NZ to make a fresh start.

Wade Robertson

Wade Robertson... where do I start with this rooster??!

When I first rocked up to Lincoln University in 2001 (to study an Environmental Management Degree), I was given my room key (113) by the office lady in charge, a map of the Uni campus, and pointed in the direction of Southland Hall to where I needed to report to a MR. Wade Robertson. So off I went.

Stuffed in my 91 subaru station wagon were my life's possessions; six rifles (at the time they were 7mm-08, 7mmx57, .303 Lee Enfield, .303 parkerhale, .22, and 12 guage shotgun), a couple of pathetic North Island (Kaimai) antlers (one which was tied to the bonnet grill hahahaaa), pig tusks, a boot full of tents, sleeping bags, hunting clothes, boots and other accessories, some books, casual attire for around Uni, and two back quarters off a scrubby stag that I shot the evening before while hunting with Dan Curley on Mount Grey near Amberley for the first time in the South Island.

It wasnt difficult to find MR. Wade Robertsons room, I just had to follow the sound of loud rap music - mostly 2Pac and Snoop Dog if I remember correctly.. But anyway, I give the door a knock and out steps this short, white, stout man (hed prefer me to call him 'stout' rather than 'stumpy', but really it makes no difference), with a shaven head, pierced eyebrow, and a strong cuzzy-bro dialect. After all, he is from the Bay. Hawkes Bay that is, not my Bay - the Bay Of Plenty. We dont sound like that.

So anyhow, he introduces himself as the "RA" (Residential Assistant) - basically the RA is onsite to make sure people behave and whatnot. Fair to say, Wade was a pretty cruisy RA and in some cases we were the ones moderating him!!

I asked Wade if there were any freezers on campus, explaining that the venison was from a recent hunt 40minutes north of Christchurch on a place called Mt Grey, and instantly we got yacking about hunting. The rest is more or less history and two weekends later we were camping along the Savannah Range in the Hawdon River, hunting for red deer and chamois.

Wade is currently engaged to Carrie and about to be married on March 29th 2008 in Christchurch, South Island NZ. I wish him all the best with his hunting now.. Oh, and of course his marriage. Nah, but in all honesty, a top bloke who has been a great mate over the past years. Cheers to the many enjoyable trips on the hill and to the many more to come.

As a side note, Wade has a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture and over four years experience in urban & town planning (in Wellington) to back it up.

Zane Cameron

Zane Cameron, originally from Taupiri - Waikato, but now living outside of Melbourne, in Victoria State, Australia.

Andre Alipate

From the Pacific Island of Tonga, Andre and I first met in boarding school at Southwell School (Hamilton) in 1995. At the time my parents were living in Vietnam, and I only saw them twice a year - Andre's lived in Papua New Geniea, and he only saw them once a year (during the Christmas holidays). So we understood eachothers situation pretty well.

We were both highly competitive sportsmen during Form 2 and we often met in finals for athletics, tennis, swimming, badminton, basketball, cross country, and javeline. Infact, we both also played wing for the Southwell First XV, so we grew up in a highly competitive environment.

When we finished at Southwell in 1995, I went onto boarding school at St Pauls Collegiate in Hamilton, and Andre went onto Kings in Auckland.

It wasn't until 2002 when I was at a local Canterbury pub when we crossed paths and got yacking. Andre was at Canterbury Uni doing an Engineering Degree and was playing Canterbury Representative Rugby.

By that stage I had given up most sports as I had been well and truly bitten by the bush bug, so idle chat about rugby and the like, soon turned to hunting. Andre's ears pricked up and the following weekend he was dragging his carcass up the Hooligan Range in Lake Sumner on his first chamois hunt. He was hooked.

With in the year, Andre's interests shifted from rugby to hunting, and he bought a 7mm-08 and then a 25-06. Without fail, we spent just about every weekend covering new terrain in pursuit of good pastures for red deer. Not too concerned about trophies at the time, we shot a lot of deer being students.

Since 2005, Andre and I have turned our attention in search for red stags with reasonable antlers. We continue on our annual pilgrimage into the Southern Alps for roar, and this year will be no different.

Viewing Images 1 to 28 of 29
Viewing Images 1 to 28 of 29

George Spence

George and I went to boarding school in Hamilton (St Pauls Collegiate), and it was at Tihoi Venture School in 1997 that my interests in the NZ outdoors kindled. George Spence was with me when I got my first pig at the age of 16 (1999), and taught me a lot about hunting off the beaten track in the Ureweras, camping under tarps and make-shift fly camps.

His wicked sense of humour and constant larks always makes for an entertaining trip into the hills. Our roar trip into Fiordland (Mt Longsight) in 2006 was no exception. George is now head shephard at a station inland from Waiou, south of Gisborne

Barrack Carle

My younger brother, Barrack, is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for freshwater flyfishing, whitewater kayaking, tramping and camping. Barrack has recently shown an interest in hunting; accompanying me on a hunt in the South Island during March 2010. During his first proper hunting trip in the South Island, Barrack was able to secure a fine 12 inch bull tahr, a representative chamois, and a 10 point red stag during 5 days of hunting across two different hunting spots. He also shot a red yearling for meat and missed a large 11point red.

Barrack is a good, reliable companian to venture into the hills with and I sincerely hope that he's keen to join me again in years to come. It's not often we get to catch up nowadays, so hunts like the one in March of 2010 is one to certainly cherish.

Barrack is currently in the throws of completing his Masters Degree in Marine Biology. His thesis topic involves mapping marine habitat assemblages using GIS and remote sensing for fishery/resource management purposes. I have been encouraging Barrack to move to Australia and utilise his marine tertiary skills for Oil & Gas / Mining related projects in or adjacent to sensitive marine environments. His skill set would be ideally suited for research, planning, and management of marine environments potentially affected by resource sector projects.

The Boys

The foursome on the red nissan safari - from left to right

Back row: Sean Dent, Daniel Curley

Front row: Jamie Carle, Andre Alipate

Another enjoyable day trip into Arthurs Pass in pursuit of chamois, June 2004, South Island, NZ

Flatmates of 2005

From left to right

Back row: Joe Gray, Jamie Carle, Dave Patterson

Front row: Anthony Hall, Andre Alipate

Between us all, we had it covered; there were hunters, fishers and divers, ensuring that wild venison, pork, chamois, tahr, trout, pauia, snapper, cod, and scallops formed our staple diet. Those were certainly the days when the Torrens Road flat (Christchurch) never went hungry

Stan Lowe

Stan Lowe first introduced me to hunting in the Kaimais when I was 15 - and was with me when I shot my first deer the following year. While I was at school in Hamilton, Stan invited me on hunting trip after hunting trip into areas such as the Kaimais, Kaimanawas, and Ureweras. I was fortunate to have an experienced teacher who was willing to impart many of his life-long lessons, favourite hunting grounds, and general knowledge of bush craft and animal habitat. And for that I am forever grateful.

Looking back now, the best bit of advice from Stan was to always have a camera handy, as this was one of Stan's single most regrets. As an old school deerstalker, Stan rarely took a camera into the field to capture many of his adventures on film. And thanks to his constant words of encouragement, I am able to share with you some of New Zealand's most spectacular alpine country.

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