National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett has resolved the question of whether size matters: it does, when it comes to game fishing.
Bennett spent Friday and Saturday in the Bay of Islands for the Reel Ladies Fishing Tournament - hauling in a 110kg marlin which was tagged and released.
The team Bennett was in won the competition after hooking four marlin and landing two of them. While another team had also caught two in the last few hours of the contest, Bennett's team got the edge because it had caught them earlier.
Bennett, a keen fisherman, said she had wanted to enter the tournament for the past three years but the workload of being a minister ruled it out.
"This year, I thought there's got to be some advantages [to being in Opposition] so I went. I'm mad keen on fishing and marlin fishing has always been on the bucket list."
Bennett said the second day of the competition when she caught her marlin had been very rough and she got seasick, which did not usually happen.
"It was so rough so I felt sick anyway and then I'm getting mouthfuls of salt water and that was enough to tip me over. It was the roughest I've been out in that I can remember."
Her gastric bypass operation last December had not impacted on her performance. "If anything it helped because I'm feeling stronger and I've been going to the gym – I'm quite pleased about that because it took a lot of muscle to pull that baby in."
She said it gave her new respect for NZ First MP Shane Jones' efforts in reeling in a 305kg marlin in 2015.
Photos on Bennett's Facebook page show an inflatable male doll was also on the boat – Bennett said he was "just another deckhand."
She had clothed him to ensure he was respectable. "I felt pants were appropriate."
The photos also show Bennett dressed as a Mexican gunslinger for the Mexican-themed prize giving – her team mates were dressed as tequila bottles and a worm. "We only came second for best costumes."
Bennett's team was called The Endeavour after the boat they were on and while she knew the skipper she had not known the other two team members until the tournament.
By way of reward, her team won a $10,000 trip to Melbourne, vouchers for accommodation and beauty treatments and kitchen goods.
Bennett took home a dinner set but no marlin to put on it, courtesy of extra points for tagging and releasing.
She said Jo Seager, who has a long-standing link to the competition as a sponsor and participant, was on another boat and she believed Seager had caught her first marlin.