Hunting & Fishing is an important part of our national psyche... New Zealand was quite literally built on it. From the 1850’s to the early 1900’s many species of deer, trout, chamois, tahr and even moose were introduced into New Zealand for sport.
Believe it or not, Stravon is from a region where hunting & fishing has always been a way of life.
It was for good reason these hills were named The Hunters Hills. The great Maori leader Te Huruhuru coined it so, not only for the bounty it offered but for the fact that it was his favourite place to hunt in these newly discovered islands.
Stravon can be found inside the provincial borders of South Canterbury. If you were to stand on top of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest point - looking due east towards the Pacific Ocean, the proud hunting region of South Canterbury would form a square in front of you. The area swoops down from the western boundary, New Zealand’s highest ridge. Continuing eastward, rolling hills rise and fall, flattening into the plains that stretch to the Pacific Ocean.
The northern and southern boundaries are the braided Rangitātā and Waitaki rivers which provide fabulous freshwater action as well as a couple of magnificent location shots for all you Tolkien fans out there.
And when the lights go out, a large portion of this gorgeous region turns into the Aoraki/ McKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve - quite possibly the best star gazing venue on Earth.
With natural boundaries as good as this and the wealth of wildlife that lives inside them, it should come as no suprise that some of New Zealand’s best hunting & fishing is found here.
It is an area steeped in the natural history of New Zealand. Some of New Zealand’s earliest Maori cave drawings are found near Stravon and they depict hunting stories of EPIC proportions. Stories of what the local people called Manunui or Great Bird. The Manunui (later known as Haast’s Eagle) was a massive bird that preyed on Moa (and even Maori) in lethal fashion.
With talons that were comparable to that of a tigers, Haast’s Eagle was not only feared but held in great regard, in fact it was the largest and most powerful eagle the world has ever known.
When you take into account that the largest Moa stood at about 3.6 m (12 ft) in height and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb) you can see why it held everyones attention.
Initially, hunting Moa would’ve been a challenge to say the least. Much like today’s Red Stag, you would’ve had to have been light on your feet and stalked with a deadly silence. However, when you throw into the mix the fact that you’re being watched over by something that can hit you with the force of a car crash because you’re nicking it’s dinner, the thrill of the hunt was certainly on!
Oh to have had David Attenborough around in those days!