Proud collection . . . Author Gary Joll has released his seventh book, a collection of memories from his hunting and fishing adventures. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

A Fairlie-based author and hunter has released his seventh book, a collection of short memories from his adventures.

Gary Joll has written two fiction books and five non-fiction, all based around hunting. He referred to his first book Big Game Hunting in New Zealand as a guide to hunting in New Zealand. To Alaska to Hunt was about his hunting experience in the United States.

Mr Joll began hunting and fishing when he was 7. He was a primary school teacher for 10 years, before he got his calling to become a hunting guide.

He went on to pioneer the first hunting lodge in New Zealand, Lilybank Station, near Lake Tekapo.

He said he wrote the short story book Tales with Tails to fill in the blanks between his other books.

“The stories are light and fluffy. There is a bit of humour in there, a few funny stories.”

He hoped the book of short stories would be good for someone who did not want to commit to a novel.

“I’ve had people in the town [Fairlie] come up to me to say how much they enjoyed it. One person said they’d read some chapters to his kids.”

One story was about a retired American surgeon Mr Joll met, who was surprised to learn that potatoes grew in the ground and not on trees.

The book has more than 30 quick reads, from his first fishing trip in Napier, right up to 2018.

“I had a pretty good recall. I’ve always kept a diary, and I remembered the time those stories happened. I was able to go back through just to check the events were how I remembered. ”

Mr Joll was not afraid to rough it in his early days.

“We went camping every summer as kids.”

As an apprentice hunting guide in Alaska, Mr Joll trekked for four months in the wilderness, living in a tent with no running water or flushing toilet.

“As a hunter overseas, you go to places you’d never go as a normal tourist.”

Mr Joll was a trophy-hunter overseas, which meant he would only hunt one of each species, aside from culls.

Mr Joll still hunts at 83, despite the hills.

Tales with Tails can be purchased at Bay Hill Books (Timaru), JR’s General Store (Fairlie), Petronella’s (Lake Tekapo) and the Twizel Book Shop.


The Courier has a copy of Mr Joll’s book to give away to one lucky reader. Email to enter. Don’t forget to include your name and contact phone number. Entries close at 5pm on October 8 and the winner will be notified by phone.