Reviewing this video could best be described as a perk and thankfully
the editor of Australian Deer does not possess a video player so this
enjoyable task was forwarded to me.
is no point in going through a long preamble, I enjoyed this video and
would recommend it to any viewer with an interest in the history of
deer, flying or the venison recovery industry in New Zealand.
1979 Mike Bennett published a book called The Venison Hunters and it is
this book that has formed the basis of the video of the same name.
Asher of South Coast Productions combined his talents with those of
David McCarlie and author Mike Bennett to produce an informative and
enjoyable video that traces the history and development of the venison
recovery industry on the South West Coast of New Zealand.
material is a blend of archival film footage, some of which appears to
be home movie, with very good quality modern film. However, all the
home-style footage is more than adequate in quality.
occasion I thought the pace got a little slow and perhaps the overall
time could have been reduced slightly. This is not a serious criticism,
just my observation and to put it into perspective, it should not
detract any from purchasing this film.
Several key aspects in
the development of the industry are depicted. The viewer is left with a
clear understanding of the lives and daily toil of the ground shooters
and the conditions they worked under. The transition from ground
shooters through to the development of the helicopter and its
deployment as an efficient shooting platform is covered.
is some remarkable footage of unbelievable flying in fixed wing
aircraft, including good landings where the definition of a good
landing is one you walk away from. As for the airstrips, some of them
have to see them to be believed. When I read the book it was obvious
that the hand made airstrips were rough and ready and the film
definitely proves it.
There is footage of helicopters laden to
the point where they cannot lift off, so the technique was to pull away
from the mountain and go down at a controlled rate. That was the theory
but as you will see in the film, sometimes it went wrong.
the messages conveyed by this production is that it was plain hard work
combined with a large degree of Kiwi ingenuity. One thing is for sure
they were tough individuals.
It is appropriate to issue a
warning that there is a lot of death in this film with countless
animals being slaughtered and no attempt made to shield the viewer from
the cold hard truth. You cannot have a venison recovery industry
without killing animals. So be aware this video will be disturbing to
Apart from the well-told story, the real strength
of this film for me was the magnificent mountains. I couldn't get
enough of them!
This video is of good quality with a story to tell and it is up there with the best of them. Highly recommended!