“The happiest moment of my life was the birth of my daughter Willow in 2004 in Waikato hospital in New Zealand. I’d always wanted a girl and I knew I was going to have a girl. I would say to Chaye that we would have a girl and name her Willow. I just wanted a daddy’s girl, that is all I ever wanted and until this stage she is. We are close. She doesn’t like fishing and hunting, but she used to come out with me all the time until that just got old for her. She has seen many a pig and many a fish. We used to carry her through the bush when hunting in New Zealand when she was only a baby. I am very passionate about the wellbeing of my family; that is number one for me. I just want us to be happy. You don’t have to have a million dollars, just simplicity, a roof over our heads. We like to go to the beach together, go camping with our swags and have a campfire when we have time.
I grew up on the North Island in a little town called Huntly, with 2000 people but everyone knew everyone really. I lived with my Mum and Dad and have a younger brother and an older sister. We sort of grew up on the river, hunting and fishing; it’s pretty much all I did, oh and going to school. We made use of the river and we used to eat quite a bit of the fish that come out of the river. Eel was pretty much a staple for us, just smoked them. It’s beautiful ay; people don’t really like the look of them as they are slimy and whatnot but they are beautiful smoked. Some of them get up to 15 pounds, but we never caught anything that big. We used a trap or a handline with a worm; I’ve tried catching them with hands but I got bitten and it turned me off. We also used to hunt pigs and deer. The pigs over here are bigger than in New Zealand because we got mountains so they don’t get that big as they are constantly going up and down hills. I hunt them with dogs and a knife and just sort of picked that up from friends who hunted pigs over there. A lot of people hunt them for the freezer; it’s not a sport for us there, it’s food and a way of living. I don’t go out pig hunting as much as I used to anymore, the fires sort of took care of them.
When I first came to Australia, it was hard because I didn’t know if I would be accepted by the locals. I’ve had many comments over the years and people have always judged me here because of my appearance. Now it’s good to go to town and talk to heaps of people and it takes a little while to get out of town and the supermarket. I feel home here now.”