Rotorua's Ngahihi Bidois learned to fish before he learned to ride a bike.
Now he's been appointed to a role where he hopes to see his dream of getting more kids to fish and hunt earlier in life come to fruition.
Bidois is believed to be the first Te Arawa descendant appointed as Eastern Region Fish and Game Council chairman.
The Bidois whānau is from the banks of the Awahou River mouth at Ngongotahā where they have hosted fishermen and women from all over the world for many years.
He also grew up fishing on Lakes Rotoiti, Tarawera, Taupō, Rotoaira, Rotomahana and the Tongariro river.
"I learnt to row a boat and fish before I learnt to ride a bike ... I want to see future generations of kids also learn to fish and hunt, before they learn to ride a bike."
Bidois is a professional speaker and director who serves on various boards and trusts, including the Lakes District Health Board, Mangorewa Kaharoa Te Taumata Trust (a Ngati Rangiwewehi Ahu whenua trust) and Tauhara North No.2 Trust (a Ngāti Tahu and Ngāti Whaoa Ahu whenua trust).
"My first recollection of fly fishing is huddled under the front of my father's rowboat at night listening to everyone's fly lines whistling through the air and hearing the fishermen, such as Bob Manahi and my uncle Stubby, laughing and telling stories while they landed fish with splashing trout all around our boat."
While fishing was in his blood, hunting was not.
"I have only been hunting once. It was with my uncle Keepa Hiini. We caught a big boar after only walking for 10 minutes so I thought it was boring, excuse the pun, and never went hunting again."
He said the role of Fish and Game was to manage, maintain and enhance sport fish and game birds and their habitats in the best long-term interests for future generations of anglers and hunters.
"This certainly fits the values held by my whānau, hapū and iwi so the step to leadership was a natural one."
When asked how he felt about being the first known Te Arawa chairman of the council, he said: "I am very humbled by that and want to acknowledge other Te Arawa descendants such as Laurence Tamati and others who paved the way as Fish and Game councillors in previous years."
He said Eastern Fish and Game enjoyed a very good relationship with iwi and it was his goal to make it even better.
"Our main Fish and Game income is through fishing licence sales so another goal of mine is to attract more people to come fishing and hunting for generations to come."
He said trout was important kai locally.
"Trout on the Te Arawa marae table is to us what crayfish on the East Coast marae table is to the Ngāti Porou marae and other coastal iwi. Trout is a kai that enhances our manaakitanga of our manuhiri."
Eastern Regional Fish and Game Council manager Andy Garrick said up to 12 positions were available on each of the regional councils and this year the Eastern Region had exactly 12 candidates, so an election wasn't needed.
He said Bidois was unanimously appointed chairman.
He said the eastern region had for years been lucky to have diversity among its members and the new council had the added benefit of younger members to represent the interests of younger licence holders.
The new council took office on October 27 and had its inaugural meeting on November 11 with departing members of the outgoing council. Five former councillors didn't put their names forward again, including Barry Roderick who had served 21 years and had been a chairman for nine years.