First Crossings – Kevin Biggar & Jamie Fitzgerald

Posted: September 17, 2013 in nonfiction, Review
Tags: ,

first crossingsThis book is based on the tv show First Crossings, which follows Kevin and Jamie as the re-create pioneering adventures from around New Zealand.  They use the same tools and eat the same foods as the original explorers, using their methods of exploration, such as using a handful of mountain grasses tied together with a shoelace as an anchor when abseiling down a cliff face.  This is the original way to abseil too, which basically involved a rope tied under your arms and letting yourself down the rope hand by hand.

The vivid accounts of the original journey with descriptions of the modern day experiences of Kevin and Jamie is fascinating to read and builds a better picture in my mind than the tv episodes.   I learnt a lot of stories I didn’t know – like why the ascent of Mt Cook was so urgent and exactly what Kelly Tarlton did.  The narrative switches between the perspectives of both men and gives us a good idea of their personalities, which are very engaging

I was never really gripped by the tv show, which featured a couple of guy who were nuts for not using modern equipment, but the book’s words paint a more detailed picture of what each adventure is like and the experiences they go through. I didn’t quite realise they actually did only wear authentic clothes, use authentic tools, or eat only food the early explorers did. I still think they’re nuts but awe-inspiring.  The early settlers were a tough breed, to do what they did with the resources they had.

The colour photos accompanying each story show what each journey is like and are breathtaking, highlighting the beauty of New Zealand.  Tribute is paid to the cameraman, Murray Milne, who completes each journey backward and looking through the camera viewfinder.

Random House New Zealand

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.