We are currently staying on the North Island at a YWAM (Youth with a Mission) facility called Oak Ridge. It’s a cluster of a few quaint homes, dorms, and meeting lodges out in the Northland country side. The family running the facility, Robby (a local Kiwi) and Julia (Kiwi transplant from England) along with their three kids Emily, Lilyanne, and Sam are extremely gracious hosts and cool people. We attended church with them yesterday and were invited over to their house for tea later that afternoon, where we enjoyed getting to know them and their good friends Grant and Glenda Blythen. The Blythen’s own and run a neighboring 600 acre cattle and sheep farm. Somewhere during tea, our discussion turned to stoat and possum eradication efforts. (The New Zealand Government desperately wants to do away with these imported pests that cause massive damage to native flora and fauna. There’s basically a war on these pests across the entire country and everybody wants them O-U-T, because they have really upset the delicate island eco-system - almost wiping out many New Zealand’s native birds and plants.) Anyway, Grant was kind enough to invite us on a nighttime possum hunt to give us Yanks a true Kiwi experience. After dark, we all piled into Grant’s fabulously-ancient Land Cruiser, and set off across his farm in search of the furry little pests. (Kind of felt like a “Safari in NZ” as Grant’s LC sped across hill after hill while his sheep dashed away from his headlights like animals running across the plains of Africa…Well, not quite, but it did remind me of those old Mutual of Omaha shows where they fly the helicopter overhead while the herds of animals run wildly about.) We eventually ended up somewhere on his property and jumped out of the LC donning spotlights, headlamps, flashlights and of course the ultimate possum eradication weapon of choice - a bolt action 22 caliber rifle with scope. Quickly, Grant spotted the first possum way up in a tree and gave Curt the first honors of leaning out the NZ possum population. Grant spotted several more possums affording Lisa, McKenna and Maddy each an opportunity to help eradicate possum. By the time the hunt was over, I believe there were a total of 6 fewer possum to threaten the Beautiful NZ eco-system! NZ possums are really cute however, and kind of look like furry little pets; so it makes them a little hard to shoot unlike the nasty looking possums we have in Washington State. We did feel good about contributing to the greater good and doing our part to rid NZ of an animal that never should have been introduced to this island in the first place. We had a wonderful night tramping under the stars hanging out with Grant, his daughter Anna, and our host Robby as they showed us around Grant’s farm. We also ended up seeing glowworms, eels and crayfish down by the creek as an added bonus to our possum hunt. A big “Thank You!” goes out to Grant and Glenda for providing us with a true Kiwi experience - a Great NZ Possum Hunt - and to Robby and Julia who introduced all of us. Oh, and Glenda makes the best cup of cappuccino in NZ! It was really quite wonderful… drinking great coffee, enjoying good company, Land Cruising across a real NZ farm at night, and then shooting possums - all the while enjoying the company of good people – What could be better? This was the genuine NZ experience… Sweet As!