With New Zealand borders shut due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses relying on tourism have been hit hard.
“While we have a good Kiwi client base, overseas tourism is a big part of our business, especially fly fishing,” says NZ Hunting Guide owner Andrew Christmas.
“The past few weeks has been very different with COVID-19, and like many businesses, we stopped operating for a period,” he says.
“It has made us change our direction slightly and offer a few more options for domestic travel and get more Kiwis out on the hill or on the rivers. New Zealand is a great place to explore and I feel Kiwis will make the most of domestic travel in the next 12 months, especially with the uncertainty that continues overseas.”
NZ Hunting Guide started five years ago as an add-on service to Taupo Trout Guides, Christmas’ main business of fly fishing in the Central North Island.
“The initial interest in hunting was on a personal level with my father and son but has now become one of the key activities, which we offer week to week,” he says.
“I could see a huge amount of fishermen were keen on hunting or willing to explore the options of organising a first hunt with family members and I thought it might be a rewarding sideline going forward and a great lifestyle add-on to our busy business.”
NZ Hunting Guide caters to all levels of hunters, from experienced mountaineers right through to novice hunters wishing to explore a new hobby.
“Some hunters are looking for a new place to hunt, a new experience, to fill the freezer, trophy hunt, or simply spend some time with friends or family in a different environment,” says Christmas.
“We can cater for everyone and put together a package over the phone or e-mail that will suit your needs.”
NZ Hunting Guide’s strong Kiwi client base ranges from groups of friends on yearly catch-ups, family hunts, first deer adventures, and even corporate end-of-year functions.
“My personal favourite is a client’s first-ever hunt and, of course, a father-son hunt,” says Christmas.
“I can relate well to these, as I’m a father of three boys and I’m going through the same learning process in making them into keen outdoorsman.
“A big part of hunting for me is respecting all animals, using as much meat of the animal as possible and ensuring that the resource that we use is healthy for years to come. Passing on all this information is as important as the hunt itself.”
He adds that all guiding is on private property within the Central North Island area. The group hunts a variety of places, from grassy farms edges right through to big native and overnight in shearer’s quarter’s woolsheds or small powered huts.