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Spring is here and this edition of Rheem Off-site has something for everyone thinking about enjoying the outdoors. We join Kerren Packer on pg 4 for the first instalment of his series on slowcooking meat. Turn to pg 10 for an informative article on shooting geese by Nick Binks. Next cab off the rank, starting on pg 14, is Nick Jones’ Tradie Profile on Luke Romano – builder, All Black and keen outdoorsman who is now setting up a luxury tourism business. Last but not least, adventurer Steve Dickenson hits the rivers on pg 18 with an article on how to enjoy rafting in our fine country.


Rheem off-Site is published bi-monthly by NZ Fishing Media Ltd. Offices are located at 177B Marua Road, Ellerslie, Auckland, Ph (09) 579 4060. THE BOSS Grant Blair QS Grant Dixon PROJECT MANAGER Nick Jones ARCHITECT Ricky Harris CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Leah Foxcroft HAMMER HAND (Advertising) Dean Andrew 021 862 579 EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES Grant Dixon 0274 925 533 Advertising within this publication is subject to NZ Fishing Media Ltd’s standard advertising terms and conditions, a copy of which is available by emailing or by calling (09) 579 4060

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Barbee’s On!

LOW & SLOW BBQ IS LIFE! Well, a big part of it at least... By Kerren ‘Kezza’ Packer


The history of barbecuing When early humans discovered fire, not only did it’s obvious warming properties make life in general infinitely more comfortable, but its utility with food became apparent – proteins (meat) gently heated over its embers until cooked and smoked, improved taste and allowed it to be preserved for longer. Being able to store left-overs for future sustenance changed the entire landscape of human advancement – to the point that many of our forebears were enabled to take the ‘wheels off their caravans’ and localised tribe-based structures soon followed, that allowed for shelter and hunting opportunities across the four corners of the globe. From those early BBQ endeavours grew mighty civilisations and an increase in the overall longevity and prosperity of the human race. Being able to control the temperature and size of these early fires to the point where consistent results were achievable meant that new flavours and techniques could be experimented with and the

“Those early prehistoric ‘pit masters’ would surely have been revered for their abilities to turn bland tasteless raw protein into succulent meat.”

‘pitmaster’ was born. Those early prehistoric ‘pit masters’ would surely have been revered for their abilities to turn bland tasteless raw protein into succulent meat. I have been very fortunate to travel to many overseas destinations in my career as a cameraman for the Journey of a Fisherman project including the Middle East, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama. At all these places there have been variants on cooking with fire and using smoke to infuse local flavours into meat. Variations in techniques and flavour accents have clearly been passed on from generation to generation of ‘pit masters’ with each developing their own distinctive and tasty endresults. Kiwi’s are no different! Many of us cut our teeth smoking succulent

kaimoana. Many of those from my generation, before the advent of gas BBQs, watched eagerly as, in most cases, the man of the house flipped steaks and the humble snag over coals or on special occasions participated in firing up hangi stones for a ‘low & slow’ underground steamed BBQ of sorts. Today there is a resurgence in ‘low & slow’ BBQ techniques for the same reasons that occurred to our ancestors – meat just simply tastes better when just enough heat and flavours are applied over a set period of time. However, when done right, left-overs appear to be a thing confined to the pages of history as diners often line up for seconds and thirds! As an avid barbecuer there is just something that gets under one’s skin when a ‘low & slow’ BBQ is



“barbecuing has become somewhat of an art form over the last decade or so and has created a booming industry to cater to...”

A ‘pit master’ at work carefully removing the membrane from pork spare ribs – low and slow is all about taking time and preparing well

looming – the planning, butchering and preparing of the proteins, adding a secret rub here and there, controlling the fire to the perfect degree for hours on end, then the gasps from onlookers as the first run of a cherished blade melts through the meat revealing a succulent result to the ‘oohs and ahhs’ of whanau and friends. Barbecuing has become somewhat of an art form over the last decade or so and has created a booming industry to cater to both the experienced and budding ‘pit-master’ alike. On the market today there is a plethora of BBQ manufacturers, coal & wood


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GETTING STARTED – TOOLS • A coal chimney is a must for getting your fuel white-hot before adding it to the pit.

The writer’s kettle style BBQ smoking away with beef short ribs, a beef brisket and some chicken lollipops – all require different timings but the same heat!;

• A decent knife for butchering and trimming excess fat from your chosen proteins.

This Mexican ’pit master’ in Cabo San Lucas serves up his variation on the same theme.

options, rub and sauce suppliers, competition events, social media sites and ‘low & slow’ restaurants that cater for what is now considered a passion by many.

Getting started – BBQ type To get started, I suggest setting yourself up with the best fit-forpurpose equipment your budget allows for. For folk that lead a hectic lifestyle, then a pellet style ‘set and forget’ smoker may fit. These BBQs use digital technology and run from a power source – whilst they tend to cause the gnashing of teeth by the purists, they are easily mastered,

often intuitive and provide consistent results every time. Kettle style BBQs need not be expensive and don’t take up much room but do require regular tending and monitoring. Provided fire is controlled well they get the job done well and also have the added advantage of being able to cook steaks to perfection directly over the coals. Then there are offset ‘stick burner’ style smokers that most pit masters aspire to own. Offsets tend to have a large capacity for feeding the whole tribe, are well constructed, and fit the ‘low & slow/BBQ is life’ mantra. Nothing is more satisfying than

• A decent meat probe for insuring your meats hit the correct temperatures, and with poultry and pork, in particular, are food-safe for consumption. • A selection of BBQ rubs and sauces (making your own from scratch is great but to start with there are plenty of off the shelf options). • A cook plan and plenty of time to execute your BBQ.

Go digital! A WIFI meat probe that connects to your phone via an app to track your cooking progress. kicking back with your preferred beverage while a big ol’ smoker is chuffing away and you know the result is going to be on-point. There are plenty of secrets, jargon and etiquette associated with BBQing, most of which stems from the American BBQ competition scene but it doesn’t take long to master your own fire and style once the basics are taken care of. I’ll cover the basic techniques over the future instalments and coming up next I will share one of my family favourites – turning the humble chicken drumstick into something pretty special.

24hr brisket is a testament to the ‘low slow’ process that results in tender succulent protein off-Sitenz



Kiwis for kiwi encourages all dog owners, especially hunters, to enrol their animals in kiwi avoidance training.

As a keen supporter of the outdoors, Rheem is excited to partner with national charity, Kiwis for kiwi. Kiwis for kiwi works to educate communities, protect and increase native kiwi numbers throughout the country. With

out a local population in a very short time. If we can get greater dog control this will help save the kiwi population.

the help of well-known ambassadors, such as Rachel Hunter and Sir Graham Henry, the organisation raises funds for kiwi incubation facilities, creating education programmes and its ongoing work to protect kiwi habitats.

Every dog, regardless of its

We were surprised to learn that dogs can scare kiwi away

size, breeding or training,

from their nests where they do not return and thought maybe sharing this information could help well-intentioned dogs from disturbing our kiwi. Community projects make a significant contribution to kiwi recovery and most of these community groups protect

or whether it is a family pet or working dog, is a potential threat to kiwi.

kiwi by managing predators such as stoats, ferrets and feral cats. However the most common threat to kiwi, and hardest to manage, are dogs. Studies have shown about 79% of adult kiwi killed in Northland are killed by

If you own a dog where wild kiwi live:

dogs. Dogs can kill kiwi at all life stages but the killing of

• Ensure your property is dog escape-proof.

adult birds has the most significant impact as it removes

• When out and about, keep your dog on a lead at all times – a kiwi can be caught and killed in seconds.

breeding birds from the population. One dog can wipe

Top: Kiwi are especially vulnerable during their breeding season, from June to the following March. Above: The best solution is the simplest – keep all dogs away from all areas where wild kiwi live. Right: If you are travelling, make sure you know about the area where you will be visiting, whether kiwi are present and if dogs are allowed.

If you hunt with dogs

Quick kiwi facts

• Ask the Department of Conservation (DOC) if wild kiwi live where you plan to hunt.

• An average of 27 kiwi are killed by predators EVERY WEEK

• Report any kiwi sign you see or hear.

• In proportion to its body size, the female kiwi lays a bigger egg than almost any other bird. While a full term human baby is 5% of its mother’s body weight, the kiwi egg takes up 20% of the mother’s body

• Have all your hunting dogs trained to avoid kiwi. • Ensure all hunting dogs are obedient and never roam unattended. • Report any lost or roaming dogs to the nearest DOC Area Office as soon as possible. • Limit hunting parties to a maximum of three dogs. • Do not hunt at night in places where wild kiwi live. • Do not leave dogs behind when you leave the bush.

• In 2019, it’s estimated there are 68,000 kiwis left, and the population is still steadily falling. • In a safe environment, and particularly with the incubation programme being run by Kiwis for kiwi, the population will grow quickly. Rheem are proud to be supporting this work.

If you’re interested in supporting this worthwhile charity or wanting more information on kiwi avoidance training go to


off-Site Hunting


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By Nick Binks


GEESE WORTH THE EFFORT If your hunting calendar is looking pretty empty through the colder months and you like getting wet, poor, and completely addicted, then goose hunting is for you suggests keen outdoorsman Nick Binks…


have hunted game from Alaska to Stewart Island and although I absolutely love to hunt bigger and more traditional game, goose hunting would have to be one of the most addictive I have come across. No two days are the same and just when you think you have figured it all out, you haven’t!

The gear First things first, is the setup. This is where the ‘poor’ becomes relevant – unless you have some mates that have already stumped up the investment for decoys that will take up half the garage, lay-down blinds, callers, and a gun that you can legally fit as many #2 or #3 shot shells into. It is a big investment, but if you buy well, the gear will last for life and it’s a great way to form a syndicate of like-minded hunting mates.

The season There is no season for geese as they were taken off the NZ ‘gamebird’ list around eight years ago and are classed as ‘wildlife not protected’. This means you can shoot geese any time of the year and the typical ‘gamebird’ restrictions do not apply. This gives plenty of opportunity to target and hunt them. It also gives you plenty of time to door-knock and establish relationships with landowners – generally, they want them gone as much as you want to hunt them due to the invasive nature of their feeding. Being a big bird, some farmers claim that three geese will do as much grazing as a sheep!

Where to hunt? Geese are traditionally a migratory bird and can be found all over New Zealand but there are gaggles that can be permanent residents. It’s a

“You can shoot geese any time of the year and the typical ‘gamebird’ restrictions do not apply”



matter of getting the binoculars out and looking into estuaries, lakes, and obtaining the correct permits or permissions to shoot. Once you have these permissions or permits it’s figuring out the flight of the geese and where they go during the daytime hours leading up to your planned shoot. Knowing that information is the key to a successful hunt. Now it sounds like a lot of hard work, but when you hear that distant and distinctive honk getting louder and louder and then these massive brown-bodied birds emerge dominating the sky, it’s bloody hard not to get excited! When these dinosaur-sized birds take fancy to your decoy spread and set up their landing gear with heads poking out towards you it’s all anticipation and exhilaration.

A great hunt With the basic how-to out of the way, I will take you on an enjoyable goose hunt with my partner Flo, the late Grant, and my friend Tom. 4:30am rolled around as we jumped in the truck and headed to the west coast to meet up with the rest of the crew. Grant had been scouting that week prior and figured out the


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“Take ‘em!” Grant yelled – a late call but the right one. With our guns almost vertical in the air we opened fire and the birds started to rain down.

birds’ favoured paddock where we would set up our lay-down blinds and decoys. The cocky had reported some big numbers all over his land and was excited to have us take care of his local ‘pests’. As we drove closer it really felt like we were driving into the eye of the storm with a sou’westerly gale blowing – not exactly the weather that we were after. Being close to the ocean, the birds would hang out on the salt overnight and then make their flight inland to feed – it was then, that we would have our chance. Geese tend to take flight more during strong winds, with the unpleasant conditions driving them off the water and into nearby paddocks. We got ready in the dark with horizontal rain knowing that it could be all for nothing as there really is no guarantee the birds will be in flight that day. We set the blinds with the wind on our backs and hoped a large split amongst the decoys would be the landing pad for any unexpecting geese deciding to join us. Now soaking wet but happy with our setup we, sheltered in our blinds and waited for daybreak, intently listening for that honk! By daybreak, the weather had backed off to a drizzle of rain and the sun intermittently poked through the

clouds. “You hear that?” Flo yelled as the first flight moved towards us, a lot higher in the sky than we had hoped. We started to blow on our sodden, wet callers which produced some interesting and dubious goose sounds. They circled twice, but uninterested they kept flying and landed two paddocks over and continued to taunt us, honking away. Then the process was repeated with an even bigger mob that also joined the group two paddocks over. This was not the start we were hoping for and it was only going to get harder competing with real birds attracting real birds! We needed some young silly geese and some stellar calling if we wanted to make this day work. As luck would have it the third flight came through – this time a group of six, perfectly manageable for four shooters, circled and made a rapid descent dropping right on top of us. “Take ‘em!” Grant yelled – a late call but the right one. With our guns almost vertical in the air we opened fire and the birds started to rain down with one getting away. It was tough shooting, but we were on the board! We made some minor changes to the decoys and placed the birds we had just shot into a realistic resting position amongst the spread. It was

a frustrating morning, with flights coming and going but never looking to commit to our spread. A few cuppas, some ginger biscuits and yarns helped the hours go by, but we all had itchy feet sitting in the blinds waiting for the action to come to us. Tom decided he had enough and went to put up some birds over in the next paddock. Just as he made the fence-line we saw our most promising flight of birds heading towards us. They were over 500m away with wings already cupped, this was looking good. “Tom get down and don’t move, we’ve got birds coming in!” we yelled. A group of eight geese made a final

descent into the spread of decoys – Grant made the call, and we all flew out of our blind, firing off at our chosen birds. With a few quick shots, we began to hear the loud thuds of birds hitting the deck. After the morning of waiting, it was immensely satisfying – even more so knowing that there are no birds flying out to educate others that we are imposters. A perfect score for goose hunters. More flights taunted us as we breasted and plucked some birds for the pot. Like many gamebirds, with the right recipe, they are great eating and there is plenty of meat so don’t waste them!

WE WANT YOU! we began to hear the loud thuds of birds hitting the deck

RHEEM OFF-SITE IS ALL ABOUT FEATURING SOME OF THE INTERESTING OUTDOOR STORIES THAT TRADIES HAVE TO TELL – YOUR STORIES! Send us your best hunting, fishing, diving and outdoors images as well - we have a pair of top Oakley sunglasses to be given away each month for the best image. Tradies, Rheem off-Site is YOUR magazine. Please share your experiences and adventures with us. You don't have to be a Pulitzer prize-winning writer that is our job!















Tradie Profile

By Nick Jones




aving grown up in Christchurch, Luke developed an affinity for hunting in the surrounding high country. On leaving school, he took a technical course and started a building apprenticeship. Luke really enjoyed learning the building trade and reckons he learnt the full gamut of construction from start to finish, including building from scratch that which is readily prefabricated in the current industry. Although Luke was enjoying his burgeoning building career, his rugby talent had other plans and he began playing professionally for Canterbury and the Crusaders. In 2012, he made his dream (no doubt shared by almost every Kiwi boy) a reality, earning his first All Blacks cap against Ireland. In total he’s racked up 32 games for the national team and well over 100 for the Crusaders, playing alongside legends of NZ rugby such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. I asked Luke if he managed to fit any building work into his schedule once he started playing footy

“In total he’s racked up 32 games for the national team and well over 100 for the Crusaders, playing alongside legends of NZ rugby such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.”

professionally. He said most people don’t understand the rigours and time put into professional rugby, explaining that his body is his ‘tool’ in the rugby trade and you have to look after it. He did mention he’d managed to put his tradie skills to use around the house when he could, completing some DIY projects such as putting in a substantial deck. Off-contract at the end of the

2019 season, the former All Black lock has been presented with at least a couple of lucrative deals at European clubs over the past year but has made it clear he has no interest in chasing a dollar abroad. Luke only wants to play for Canterbury and the Crusaders and believes his experience could be crucial for the team losing some key veterans this World Cup year. When the gas does run out,



Luke’s lined up a professional gig suited to his other passion. He’s established an outdoor adventure tourism business called Monarch Pursuits. Originally geared towards hunting, Monarch Pursuits has been diversified to provide bespoke, tailored itineraries including experiences such as estate hunting, pristine river fishing, back-country heli-skiing, or simply relaxing around NZ. Guests are treated to a world-class experience staying at some of the country’s most exclusive alpine retreats and exploring offthe-beaten-track locations. Monarch Pursuits is financially backed by a team of successful Christchurch businesspeople and an operations team with extensive tourism experience. Luke considers 16

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“tailored itineraries including experiences such as estate hunting, pristine river fishing, backcountry heli-skiing, or simply relaxing around NZ.”

himself part of the practical side of the outfit with his hunting and outdoor experience. “We wanted to bring a high-end, luxury tourism feel to the entire experience, so from the moment guests land to the time they leave, everything is taken care of. We’ve partnered with a selection of outstanding lodges, guides and operators so guests receive the best of what our country has to offer. We want people to leave New Zealand with their minds blown, to go home to wherever in the world they’re from and say how fantastic the country is.” Although the bulk of Monarch’s clientele are likely to be international tourists, Luke says the experiences will be amazing

for Kiwis too – “whether it’s an older couple who aren’t interested in hunting and just want to have a high-end holiday package put together and tour around New Zealand, to a group of mates who want to hunt and fish before spending four-days enjoying all the excitement down in Queenstown, to families who want to do a little bit of everything. We want to appeal to every individual on the spectrum because we can cater to all their needs.” Luke will be actively involved in the business dealing personally with all clients and, as his rugby schedule permits, will be part of the hunting trips. Who knows, he might even get the call-up to Japan if there are a few All Black locking injuries…

See Life Differently

ymouth ber from New Pl um Pl er as Fr k ar M e with r whitebait to arriv fo g tin ai w ly nt patie t. the perfect net se

Bruce White, Hogan Plumb ing having a quiet read of the Off-site while fishing off the great Foxton Beach.

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Why is white water rafting so much fun? Adventurer Steve Dickinson suggests some answers…


any uninformed people look at white water rafting as simply playing bumper boats with rocks on a fast-flowing river. But as anyone who has tried it knows, it’s so much more than just that. It’s the whole process; getting ready, pulling on wetsuits and thermals, driving to the river, understanding instructions, practising in the calm water and then just like that, you’re into it. New Zealand is renowned for its adventure activities, and rafting has been top of the list since the beginning. Because New Zealand is long and narrow, our rivers have a great fall-line creating high impact fast-flowing water in stunning

settings. The rivers that are commercially rafted are graded ‘one’ being close to a pond, through to ‘five’ which feels like a near-death experience! Anything over that is considered too dangerous to raft. Anyone can pick up a rubber tube and decide to float down a river, but be aware, rivers are not like the sea. They are unforgiving, and one cubic meter of water weighs a tonne, so if you get hooked up or pressed into a small space, those tonnes of water will be unrelentingly holding you there. It is for those reasons that it is best to raft with a commercial rafting company. Fortunately, in New Zealand, we have some of the best in the world.

Kaituna River New Zealand boasts the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Just 20 minutes outside of Rotorua, the Kaituna river offers up the Tutea Falls. It is a gut-wrenching roller coaster as you plummet over seven metres. It’s not for the faint-hearted, and although you don’t need to be an expert, you do need to have the courage to do it. You build up the anticipation for the seven-metre drop with a range of rapids and a few smaller waterfalls before facing up to the big one! You know it’s going to be interesting when everyone is told to get off their seat inside the raft! It’s all over pretty quickly (if all goes well), and the waterfall flows into a large calm pool where you can

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look back and reflect on what you have just conquered. A word to the wise – try to go in the first raft of the procession as it’s fun watching others crap themselves as they tumble over the waterfall. The whole trip is only about two hours, but it’s a fantastic experience.

Tongariro River Rafting New Zealand is one of the most professional rafting companies in the country and operates extensively on the Tongariro River, which is a grade three. It is based in

Turangi, next to the climbing wall, about 30 minutes from Taupo. It is a half-day experience which will take you down the mighty Tongariro River. The trip gives you access to some of the local scenery that you would never be able to see and also some of the best trout fishing in the country (you can book fly fishing rafting trips). Rafting New Zealand is the full package with generations of experience. With everything from a hot drink and chocolates halfway down the river to a beer and hotdog

“The trip gives you access to some of the local scenery that you would never be able to see and also some of the best trout fishing in the country”

when you get back. It is a great halfday package in any season, making it an excellent alternative day if you are on a ski trip but the mountain is closed.

Mohaka River Flowing through the Hawke’s Bay, the Mohaka River is one of the most renowned rivers for rafting. ‘Mohaka’ translated means ‘place for dancing’ – I’m not sure how that applies to rafting the river, because it goes from a grade two to five, and the grade five is less about dancing and



more about holding on for dear life. The company, Mohaka Rafting, offers several different white-water rafting experiences from day trips covering grades two to five, and multi-day expeditions for up to a week. However, they are not the only company that runs this river and if you search online you can find a range of options. No experience is required except for grade four/five, and you will surprise yourself with how well you can hang on.

The Rangitata Gorge Rafting is not just found the North


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“The company Mohaka Rafting offers several different white-water rafting experiences from day trips covering grades two to five,”

Island. The Rangitata Gorge is a gorge located in the Canterbury High Country in the South Island. The narrow gorge links the headwaters of the Rangitata River with the fertile Canterbury Plains. Rangitata Rafts raft the Rangitata Gorge which is a mix of grade two to five rapids – just a few hours in the car from Christchurch it offers something for everyone. The package is four hours on the river with hot showers and a BBQ dinner at the end. This is just the tip of the iceberg of rafting in New Zealand, as pretty much everywhere you go there is

some sort of rafting on offer. From amazing holiday locations like River Valley on the Rangitikei where you can stay for a few days and add in horse riding and trout fishing to smaller half-day excursions offered almost anywhere there is a river. On par with skydiving, grade 5 rapids give you the exhilaration and feeling that you have escaped death and it will keep you coming back for more. But whatever trip you decide to take you will meet some great people, see parts of the county only a few people get to see, and have an adrenalin rush that you will remember for a lifetime.

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