By 1965 at the age of thirty, Frank Erceg had established an impressive reputation as a marksman, mountaineer and photographer, with his work widely published in newspapers and magazines of the day. That same year, Frank and his mate Johnny Cumming were killed in New Zealand’s first helicopter hunting accident, sending shockwaves through the tight-knit hunting community.
Frank’s story began with the migration of the Erceg family from the former Yugoslavia to New Zealand. Growing up in the small settlement of Aukopae near Taumarunui, Frank was strongly influenced by three older brothers who taught him hunting, fishing and bushcraft skills. In his early twenties, Frank headed south, first enlisting as a government shooter before becoming an independent meat hunter. The magnificent Arawhata Valley in South Westland was his hunting ground, his base, a purpose-built log cabin on the edges of the Arawhata River.
Author Louise Maich has spent over two decades piecing together her uncle Frank’s previously untold story through family research, letters, compelling recollections and yarns from Frank’s contemporaries – the last of the great hunters of that era.
Illustrated with rare images from his photographic archive, Finding Frank is a heartfelt tribute to one of New Zealand’s true hunting legends.