First Crossings. Historic NZ adventures brought to life

Liam Butler

Liam Butler lives in Stoke, the cool part of Nelson. He has been reviewing books, movies and music for a bit of light relief since his student days.

By Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald

RRP $45.00

Review By Liam Butler

First Crossings is a written and photographic account of the television series of Kevin and Jamie’s recreation of some of New Zealand’s pioneer’s most iconic journeys. The author’s ability to blend history, geography and earnestly recount their own fears on taking on the journeys makes for compelling reading.  The book celebrates just how courageous our pioneering adventurers were.

Labert & Kershaws caving exploration in Takaka on Christmas Day in 1958 is one of the eleven journeys superbly recreated in this 320 page book.  Whilst the authors used the same equipment and food as the original pioneers; light relief is found in the travel before the challenge started proper.  The authors boarded Nelson’s 65ft Ketch the Sh’khinah sailing across Golden Bay to Abel Tasman National Park. From there they headed down Harwood’s Hole which, with its 253 metre vertical entry shaft, is the deepest natural hole outside Europe.  The fact that caving can be a tight squeeze is reflected in the author’s musing that “Taking a full breath of air only makes the sensation of being wedged in worse.”

In this book Kevin and Jamie remind us that we all can have wonder-filled experiences when we step into our beautiful wilderness.

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