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.


2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards


I am so happy to be part of the blogging team promoting the New Zealand Post Book Awards again this year.  Ethan and I had a blast reviewing some of the Junior Fiction finalists last year and with baby Nixon on board this year we are all set to discover some of New Zealand’s awesome picture book authors and illustrators as well!

The finalists have been announced here, this is seriously an amazing collection of books!

My early picks for my boys would have to be;

Hunting Guide_9781775535126_cover

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Paul Adamson
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 9781775535126 pb
RRP $34.99
Target age 8+

How do you stalk a trout? How do you skin a rabbit? How does a bullet work? This is a beginner’s book of hunting and fishing for all ages, featuring the where, when, what and how of our most popular hunting and fishing pursuits. From rabbiting to duck-shooting, possuming to large game, eeling to whitebaiting, The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand will give any budding hunter the basic skills and knowledge for a lifetime of adventure.


Felix and the Red Rats
James Norcliffe
Random House New Zealand, Longacre
ISBN 9781775533245 pb,
9781775533252 eb
RRP $19.99 pb & eb
Target age 9+

When David’s uncle comes to visit he sets off a bizarre series of events. Things become complicated when the pet rats turn bright red. David senses that somehow the rats are connected to the story he is reading, and becomes convinced when the colour red becomes contagious. A parallel story sees Felix and his friend Bella shifted into a strange land where they must solve a riddle that puts them into great danger. How will they escape home?

Toucan Can - Front cover

Toucan Can  
Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis
Gecko Press
ISBN 9781877467530 hb,
9781877467547 pb
RRP $34.99 hb, $19.99 pb
Target age 3 to 6

Toucan can do lots of things!
Toucan dances!
Toucan sings!
Toucan bangs a frying pan!
Can YOU do what Toucan can?

A tongue-twisting, ludicrous rhyme full of escalating hilarity and off-the-wall characters. It will have you tripping and flipping and dancing and singing. If Toucan can, you can!

Machines and Me - Boats cover

Machines and Me: Boats
Catherine Foreman
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 9781775431596 pb
RRP $14.00
Target age 0 to 5

Boats with motors,
boats with sails,
boats to go out watching whales.

Children love machines! The Machines and Me series of four simple, well?written stories has a bold, clean illustration style perfect for pre-school children, by the award-winning author/illustrator Catherine Foreman.