If the sky could send a signal that it's a good time to go hunting, it's sending it today.

Low-slung grey clouds stretch across the city like a cloak. Matua Parkinson claps his hands together with excitement.

"This weather coming ... ooh." He leans back in his chair to observe the threat of rain, and nods.

"There's a couple of possies I'll hit tonight."


Has he got a pretty good hit rate?

"Oh yeah, not bad. But it's hunting, eh? Not shopping."

Whether he'll get an animal is a matter of chance, of luck, of the way the wind blows. Rain is particularly good for pig hunting.

Parkinson, a Bay of Plenty District Health Board member, former Maori All Black and television host is hunting obsessed.

The bush gives him peace and sanctum, the wild makes him whole.

He and his "silver fox" brother, Reuben, have created the online hunting "brotherhood" Blood Brothers.

The page has amassed 10,000 followers since it started about eight months ago.

The Parkinson brothers, former business partners and rugby pros, run a livestream every Wednesday at 8.30pm on Facebook. They share hunting yarns and interact with the public from a makeshift set in Reuben's Mount garage.


The former host of Maori Television's Hunting Aotearoa for three years, Parkinson, the younger of the two, is comfortable in front of the camera. His gregarious manner encourages quiet Reuben.

"He's one of those fullas he'll watch it back and critique himself," Parkinson says.

"Bro, who cares, man! If I want to get good laughs out of him, I'll give him a Red Bull beforehand."

They've been approached by production houses, but for now, have declined. They like that they're under no restrictions.

"As you've probably seen, it needs a few beeps in there."

They've designed a clothing range with a Blood Brothers "patch", and will be selling dog boxes soon.

Born and bred in Te Kaha, Parkinson of Te Whanau a Apanui descent, is the "potiki'' (youngest) of five children and grew up hunting, fishing and diving with his siblings and crayfisherman dad, Reuben (senior), who died of a heart attack at 67.

His "beautiful" mother, Mereana, a retired school teacher, helps with Blood Brothers admin, along with sister Te Kiira.

The upbringing shapes the man in Parkinson's case. He's unpolished and down to earth.

He gets out for a hunt "at least" a couple of times a week. Wife Cheri, who he refers to as "my darling", gives him a free pass.

"She's awesome. As long as I take care of my domestic duties, man, I'm good to go."

He generally hunts at night when his kids are asleep, or early morning.

He took his wife hunting a while back and he shakes his head at the memory.

"I didn't know, 'cause I was walking in front of her, but she's got her phone on Snapchat [filming herself] going 'I'm going for a hunt' and I didn't see all this till we come out of the bush.

"I never take my phone in the bush. Usually got no signal anyway."

Could he go a week without hunting?

"It'd be pretty twitchy around the house."

He classifies himself as a pig hunter but is partial "to the odd fallow [venison]."

He's not the best cook but knows what he likes.

"Venny, hard and fast. Hot pan," he advises.

"You just want to sear it. You don't want to cook it too long otherwise she goes hard and you're whacking it on the table, mate. Then you're getting no love from Mumsy. The wild pork ... boil-up."

Does he eat wild meat every night?

"Nah, we had chicken last night. But the night before that, we had wild pork, then venison, then some fish we got down the coast."

He has a 40-foot shipping container he stores his hunting treasures in - camouflage clothes, boots, knives, and beer fridge.

"It's gotta be classics [Steinlager]."

He has one pig hunting dog, Turbo, a bull cattle cross. Then there's neo mastiff Hector, whose expertise is as a "pot licker".

"Waste of time, mate. You can hear him coming before you see him."

Turbo, the favourite, has a fallow head sitting on top of his dog box. Parkinson's not much of a trophy hunter though.

"I've never seen anyone eat antlers." He targets a "fat body".

Does he walk into the bush or chopper in?

"The Wananga don't pay me that much," he jokes.

He runs the Youth Guarantee fitness course at Tauranga's Te Wananga o Aotearoa. The job keeps him fit for walking along steep ridges. He never hesitates to carry sandbags alongside his students.

"If someone starts whining [going up the Mount] 'well hold on, mate. I'm about twice your age, twice your size around the waist'."

At the start of every academic year, he sees students Googling who he is on their phones.

What will they find?

Well, apart from rugby accolades and his stint on Hunting Aotearoa, they'll see he teamed up with cousin and former All Black Glen Osborne as one-half of the Brofessionals on Maori Television show The Code.

He hosted Maori Television's Play last year and was a contestant on the network's Survive Aotearoa.

One Google find he'd like to erase, is pulling down the pants of a Bay of Plenty assistant referee in 2011.

"Let's not recap any of that. Tough times, tough times ... I've made my share of mistakes."

He's been a Bay of Plenty District Health Board member for seven years, and now age 42 ("It creeps up, eh? Far!") still plays and coaches club rugby for Nga o Papaka Rangataua, in Maungatapu.

He must be their best player?

"I'm the oldest player."

He and brother Reuben have just returned from France where they took a young, New Zealand select team. They did well, but were "pipped in the final".

When he's not playing rugby or hunting, he's dedicating time to his three sons Marangai, 16, Kiira, 11, and Nikau, 7. Parkinson loves his boys.

"They're good kids."

He coaches his two eldest sons' rugby teams, and is a sideline supporter at Underground BJJ, where his two youngest do jiu-jitsu.

His "little fulla," youngest, Nikau, took a hoof from a deer Parkinson shot the night before to Kura for show-and-tell.

"Apparently it was the talk of the school."

He's passionate about fostering relationships; particularly encouraging "relationships between father and sons, father and daughters" via hunting.

Role modelling is a natural fit with his role as a health board member.

"I love the fact I can contribute to Maori health. We [as Maori] need to role model. We can't expect people to follow our example if we're not doing it ourselves."

Known as "Muts" he moved to Auckland at 18 and made the North Harbour sevens team.

He went on to play for the Canterbury Bulldogs, Hurricanes, the Blues and the Maori All Blacks. He captained the national sevens team to victory in the world championship.

He spent 2004 and some of 2005 playing rugby in Japan and then returned to Tauranga and played for the Bay of Plenty Steamers.

"It seems like a lifetime ago that sort of stuff."

He still gets recognised in the street. Mostly, because of his wildman hair. He cringes. What's wrong with the curls?

"Nah, there's curls and then there's steelo, you know? It's just not working out, man. There's just not much you can do with it. My baby said that to me this morning: 'Dad, you should straighten your hair.' That ain't going to happen my boy. I wouldn't be in public, mate."

Nowadays, Parkinson is very much known for his bushman persona.

He takes his white Nissan into the bush, or if he's back home in Te Kaha he'll go by horseback or on a friend's Polaris.

Where does he stay in the bush?

He screws up his face. "Wherever. If you're hunting, you're not staying, you're hunting. Catch a couple of winks if someone else is driving."

Most of his hunting is done with brother, Reuben, and friends Jim, and Terry aka Tarzan.

"Animals just seem to come to him," he explains.

Parkinson and Mother Nature are tied at the heart. Where the wild things are is where Parkinson is at home.