Pas­sion for life drives NZ’s favourite fisher

Ho­hepa en­ter­tains at Mata­mata Ro­tary

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By DAVID HULME

Catch­ing ka­hawai with a mod­i­fied tea­spoon, us­ing choco­late wrap­pers as lures and liv­ing life with pas­sion were just some of the se­crets Bill Ho­hepa shared dur­ing a char­ity din­ner in Mata­mata last week.

Ho­hepa spoke to a crowd of 100 at a fundrais­ing din­ner hosted by Ro­tary Mata­mata and out­lined his pas­sion for fish­ing, trucks, film mak­ing and ar­guably more im­por­tantly, the young and some­times un­der­priv­i­leged in New Zealand so­ci­ety.

His work with youth was recog­nised in the 2014 New Year’s Hon­ours List with a Mem­ber of the NZ Or­der of Merit be­ing awarded after decades of hold­ing camps for young­sters, teach­ing them how to fish and pro­vid­ing men­tor­ing.

Ho­hepa first sprung to promi­nence in 1968 when he was asked to write a col­umn in the news­pa­per – that was to lead to a weekly fish­ing col­umn in var­i­ous news­pa­pers, which stretched more than four decades.

He is also the au­thor of sev­eral fish­ing books, and along with wife Linda, has pro­duced hun­dreds of tele­vi­sion shows, in­clud­ing top­ics such as fish­ing, 4WD ad­ven­tures, trucks, and his lat­est show called Low Gear, spon­sored by Mata­mata firm J Swap Con­trac­tors which can be seen on Mata­mata’s Cen­tral TV on Fri­days at 8.30pm.

‘‘I started the truck­ing shows with a se­ries called Talk­ing Trucks, which was an op­por­tu­nity to talk to the peo­ple who were work­ing with trucks in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, hear their sto­ries and get an his­tor­i­cal in­sight into what it was like back in the day,’’ Ho­hepa said.

‘‘Pas­sion drives ev­ery­thing in life and the peo­ple we talk to are ab­so­lutely pas­sion­ate about their trucks and their ma­chines – they are of­ten in their 70s, 80s or 90s and once they are gone their sto­ries have gone too; but now we have a visual record of th­ese for their fam­i­lies to en­joy as well as our con­sid­er­able num­ber of view­ers.’’

‘‘ I re­ally en­joyed my time driv­ing trucks – you learn re­spect for your ma­chin­ery, for oth­ers on the roads and for your cus­tomers, and you get to know your­self and your lim­i­ta­tions.’’

Ho­hepa is best known for his ex­per­tise on the wa­ter and he had a num­ber of tips for an­glers.

‘‘Peo­ple al­ways ask me ‘Bill why am I not catch­ing fish?’ and the an­swer is that you need pa­tience to be a fish­er­man.

‘‘If you are a grumpy bug­ger you will not catch a fish. The se­cret to fish­ing is eye­brows up – be happy with a smile on your face be­cause if there is ten­sion you do not seem to catch many fish.’’

He told the crowd about how he came up with the idea for choco­late wrap­pers and cut­lery as lures, long be­fore the man­u­fac­tured prod­uct was avail­able in New Zealand and he also shared how to en­sure you catch more fish.

Money raised from the fundrais­ing din­ner will be used by Ro­tary Mata­mata to support com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.

CHAR­ITY DIN­NER: Ro­tary Mata­mata pres­i­dent Owen Farmilo, left, with New Zealand fish­ing per­son­al­ity Bill Ho­hepa at the char­ity din­ner in Mata­mata last week.

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