Book Review | The Beginners guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson


Let me preface this by saying, this is a special kind of book for a special kind of kiwi kid.  One that hates to be laced into shoes and stuffed into cars to hustle from here to there, a kid that doesn’t blink at dirty hands and can fashion a fishing line out of anything.  A kid that wears shorts year round, can catch a skink before you’ve even noticed it and is happiest at the beach when the watches are off and he can swim for hours.

Luckily for me I have such a kid and luckily for him The Beginners Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson is a finalist in the 2014 NZ Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.

From an adult perspective, this is a beautiful book.  The dust cover is perfection, the layout and design is so far beyond what is usually delivered in a kids book, the amount of white space is perfect for little readers and the photography is a stunning mix of historical and modern imagery.  I LOVE the way this book looks and feels.  But the content is just as good.  Safety first – the introduction and first section focus on firearm safety and hunter responsibility in just the right tone and verbosity for a young reader.

The sections to follow cover everything from whitebaiting to bushcraft, target shooting and goat hunting.  A complete glossary of outdoorsy excellence in our own backyard.


From a kids perspective this book is just excitement.  A manual that will end up dog-eared and well referenced and read over and over again.  There are so many cool graphics, checklists, recipes, facts and interesting diagrams that Ethan was actually unable to read the book straight through for quite a while, it was just too tempting to turn the page and see what was next.  My 9 year old son truly loves this book and will treasure it for years to come.

This book was provided to me for my editorial consideration but all opinions expressed are my own.


Paul Adamson – author of The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Random House NZ)

1. As an author, you must have a lot of ideas floating around. How did you decide to write this book?
I’ve had the idea for the book for over 15 years but due to heavy teaching then Principal-ship commitments it never seemed to get off the ground. Until that is a lovely young man by the name of Alex Hedley fom Random House came into my school one day and we both believed that there was a gap in the market. It literally blossomed from there.

2. Tell us a bit about the journey from manuscript to published work. What was the biggest challenge you faced in publishing this book?
Writing each draft chapter on separate forms of hunting or fishing was a breeze! Rewriting to keep to the brief of just informing and being instructive instead of diving into actual experiences and anecdotal stories that would have been ‘Boys Own’ stuff had to be cut. That was tough. Getting the balance between clear understandable and age-relevant terminology without dumbing down the importance of key points coupled with illustrations required a lot of emailing to and fro.

3. Did you tailor this book to a particular audience – or did you find it found its own audience as it was written?
This was written initially soley for 8- 16 year olds but very soon we realised it was as much an instructional book for even adult beginners….hence the title.

4. Can you recommend any books that you love, that inspired or informed your book in any way?
Philip Holden’s books on hunting in New Zealand; particularly his later ones where photos added tothe impact of the text.

Definitely Matthew Syed’s book Bounce. The balance of talent and practice overcoming doubts in your ability to do something special….provided a lot of self belief.

5. Tell us about a time you’ve enjoyed relaxing and reading a book – at the bach, on holiday, what was the book?
Papillon, by Henry Charrie’re. The clarity of writing had you experiencing everything from sounds to smells to high emotion….amazing.

6. What is your favourite thing to do, when you aren’t reading or writing, and why?
Getting out there and enjoying the Outdoors. I’m mentoring two young lads at the moment as both my sons are off at Uni. One of these boys is through the ‘Big Brother Big Sister’ organisation, a sort of informal adoption, but our interaction (fun time once a week) could last for a lifetime. Seeing those smiles after personal achievements is fantastic.

Lowering my golf handicap back to the 2 handicap I was on, prior to open heart surgery, would be great.




Published by


I live in rural Auckland, New Zealand. Two boys, one big, one not so big and 2 boy dogs belong to me and I them. I love Coca Cola in all of its sugar-less forms and I love you internet. I take way too many pictures of my kids and collect them all here. This is what I am doing when I should be cleaning or cooking or doing other 'useful' things.

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