I think I was 7 when I first fired a gun. My father had taken me hunting near a place called Maroa off the Tokoroa-Taupō highway and after a hot, tiring and fruitless day we headed back to the main highway and the car.

A harrier hawk was lying beside the road. It had obviously been hit by a vehicle and was flapping around uselessly with a broken wing. My father handed me his .22 single shot and motioned for me to kill the bird. I stepped up fired and missed. He reloaded the gun and gave it back to