On the Edge of the Ocean

First starts in surfcasting

No matter where you are in New Zealand right now, whether on top of Mount Cook or lost in backblocks Otago, you are less than 120 kilometres from the coast. Surfcasting, rock fishing, whichever way you go about it, there is plenty of opportunity to throw a hook into the sea and hope for something to eat.

Twitching On

By icebreaker to New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands

Adam Walleyn leans against the gunwale of the Russian icebreaker and scans the horizon. Lesser twitchers surround him, most about twice his age, binoculars glued to eye-sockets. They point out specks on the horizon. Is that a Wanderer? they say. No, that’s a Southern Royal, Adam replies, briefly raising his binoculars to confirm what he already knows. He is the Justin Beiber of twitching.

A Rural Uniform

The legend of the bushshirt

Pure practicality, the bushshirt’s only concession to style is a daggy checked pattern stamped from hem to collar as if an afterthought. Constructed from dense sandpapery wool impervious to campfire sparks, its two patch pockets are big enough for a book, a compass or a tobacco pouch. And as if that were not enough, the whole thing is also water resistant.

Whisky

A pleasant sort of fatigue

It might be the last thing packed but it will be one of the most appreciated – a small flask of whisky. You may not be able to use ‘medicinal purposes’ as an excuse, it remains though, the best thing after a long day outdoors. It’s deep dull warmth intensely satisfying while the air cools beyond the walls of the tent, the hut.

The Uses of the Cabbage Tree

A brief history

I hope one day they’ll plant me in
The kind of hole they dig for horses
Under a hilltop cabbage tree.

James K. Baxter, 1950

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