Hamilton gym owner, hunter and TV personality Andre Alipate has just had the reality series he stars in with his mates picked up by Amazon Prime Video.
The Hunters Club is now broadcasting in the United States and Canada, giving the Kiwis the potential to reach 96 million subscribed Amazon households in the United States
"It's good to be able to get that bigger reach. We're the first show in New Zealand to jump on that platform.
"We're kind of ambassadors for New Zealand outdoor sports TV shows," Alipate said.
Earlier this month, the show's fourth season launched locally on Sky Sport and on Amazon. As one of the programme's hosts Alipate says, "it's not a thing we've been focused on but it's something I think we earned".
He's hopeful the American and Canadian receptions will be as positive as they've been at home.
"In New Zealand we've got a good following and people are happy with what we produce so hopefully we get the same response over there.
"It's a pretty big deal for a locally made New Zealand show to be able go and throw it up on US screens," he said.
The programme features the five showcasing their hunting and bush craft skills in the wild spaces, both land and sea, of Aotearoa.
Alipate is a geotechnical engineer by trade, a husband, a dad, a gym owner and trainer and he'll help anyone wanting guidanceabout best practices in the outdoors.
He also heads into the bush with his mates for a hunt sometimes and one of those mates can carve it up with a camera.
The Hunters Club began with a group of friends doing what they loved. Alipate lived with Wanaka's Dan Curley and Queenstown man Anto Hall, when they studied at Canterbury university and says in their student days hunting was all they did.
When the trio were joined by Nelson's Tim Barnett, Dunedin's Sam Yule and man-behind-the-lens Kerikeri-based Dave Shaw, they had the makings of a show with appeal to national and international audiences. Their show started in 2014 and has been broadcasting in 20 countries, including Russia and France, and is soon to be in 25 countries.
The Hunters Club features firearms, animals die and there is blood, but none of it is done for the sake of sensationalism.
The hunters venture into the habitats of their prey, whether that's chasing chamois in the Southern Alps with a bow and arrow or red deer with a rifle in the Kaimai Ranges.
Any beast they kill is trekked out on their backs and they waste nothing. Alipate is partial to offal cuts and organs and has a chuckle thinking about the number of people who seem to believe meat begins on a supermarket shelf wrapped in plastic.
"The difference between buying your meat at the supermarket and what we do as hunters, is that we think about taking that animal's life. We also know exactly where it comes from and we put a lot of effort into acquiring it and bringing it home to put on our table for dinner.
Today some people have lost touch with that process and frankly, with reality," he said.
The Hunters Club allows audiences access to that primal perspective and Alipate says the ability to give what they do in the wilderness context is testament to Shaw's skills as a producer and cameraman.
An important feature of their show is raising outdoor safety awareness and the crew works closely with the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council to broadcast a point Alipate highlighted on his trainhuntthrive Instagram account.
"Hope for the best. Always prepare for the worst. Mother Nature can flex her muscles and put you in your place at any time."
"It's not just putting awesome stuff on TV, it's also about trying to educate people on this is the perception of what hunting and safety might be, and this is actually what it is and how you can be safe doing it."
In another Instagram post Alipate clarifies his primary concern while outdoors.
"Making it home to my wife, daughter and family is always at the forefront of my mind and actions. It's not the kind of place to make silly or rushed decisions. For me no animal is ever worth my life."
At home, Alipate and his wife Anna own and operate the Claudelands CrossFit 3216 gym.
There they prioritise health and fitness and he often has patrons asking him where they can get more sources of organic protein or meat. He says hunting is not the most politically correct answer and people have said to him, "what do you mean you have to kill an animal to eat meat?"
"I don't ever impose it on anyone. For me that's just the truth. That's what happens.
"People want to eat more healthy organic, clean, lean meat. Well where does it come from? The best way to go and get it is either in the sea or somewhere in the bush," he said.
This hunter-gatherer instinct Alipate attributes to his parents and particularly his father, who employs a "subsistence lifestyle" of self-sufficiency at home in Tonga.
"My father has always instilled in me the tradition of planting, growing, gathering, rearing, hunting or trapping our food. He has no reliance on modern convenience but only the
weather, the seasons and availability of what nature offers.
"For me, as a Polynesian, Tongan, subsistence living is the norm in my family and hunting here in New Zealand and the Waikato is just an extension of that," Alipate said.
The Waikato-based hunter says he "cut his teeth" in New Zealand's South Island and recounts a trip, some years ago, with his best friend Jamie Carle at the end of their Canterbury university studies as a "last hurrah".
"Before we left the South Island we spent 12 to 14 days, maybe longer, but we covered a crazy amount of country.
"We walked from the West to East Coast in the South Island twice in that duration and we covered, as a bird flies, I think it was 190km on foot.
"We went in and out of different weather systems and it was a real challenging trip but really satisfying at the same time. Those kinds of trips, I kind of live for them," he said.
Family and business concerns now mean these trips are reduced but Alipate says there's a massive hunting fraternity in Waikato and he rattles off prime hunting opportunities in all directions from the central North Island hub for harvesting pig, deer, goat, fresh and saltwater fish and gamebirds.
He hunts for three main reasons: to provide clean, organic food for his family and friends, for the adventure and outdoorsmanship and to test his mind and body against any situation that might arise.
"The physical challenge for me, it's something that I relish.
"That's why I do CrossFit…to be able to do exploration in the outdoors and not have to worry about my fitness," he said.
When he's not at the gym Alipate is preparing for the next hunt or helping out with the show. He's in constant contact with his Hunters Club mates.
"They're all as passionate about it as I am and that's about as good a recipe as you can get."
"When I'm in the bush I generally cook meat, heart and liver over an open fire with simple seasoning.
"At the moment I'm really enjoying eating, and sharing with family and friends wild meat jerky I've been making," Alipate said.