The Hedgehog Kid
The hunting and travel adventures (and misadventures) of a New Zealand country boy.
Dave Blair is “The Hedgehog Kid.”
“I came into the world of wildlife as a five-year-old when my father bought an 83 acre farm in Taranaki. It was a place where Maori could not live. Tarurutangi, ‘The land of the crying owl’. It was here I began to live in the world of animals and birds and begin an adventure life because of them. They became my escape.
“From the moment I saw the hawk in the sky, I wanted to fly. With my over imaginative friend Lawrence, it became our dream, along with our adventurous dreams, to travel to and hunt in Canada and Africa. Lawrence died young, so his dream to hunt the world died with him. Lawrence did realize his dream to fly, and he did it first and magnificently.
“For money we hunted hedgehogs at shilling a snout, so they called us “The Hedgehog Kids.” We escaped education in the countryside. Under-aged I joined the army to fight in the Middle East, to escape to adventure, but the ware was won in a week, instead I went to the city.
“There, I worked on the railways and wharves, in the freezing works, at a brass foundry and a fertilizer works. I became a motelier and a farmer, a hunting and tourist guide. I came to see all of the places we had dreamed of as boys and as men. I made and lost my fortune and almost my life, but never lost my love of wild places, or of what matters most for all of us, rich or poor, of life itself.”
Dreams do come true!
First published in 2001