Libraries  |  1 Dec 2023

Uncover the history of a New Zealand hunting legend at an upcoming Tūranga book launch.

At age thirty, prominent deer hunter Frank Erceg was established as a renowned marksman, mountaineer and photographer by 1965, with his work widely published in newspapers and magazines of the day.

That same year, Frank and his friend Johnny Cumming were tragically killed in New Zealand’s first helicopter hunting accident.

While Frank Erceg is mentioned in many books on the history of hunting in New Zealand, no book has been written specifically about him, his life and his achievements.

“Until now,” says Finding Frank author Louise Maich, who has spent the past two decades recording the story of Frank’s interesting albeit tragically short life.

Finding Frank by Louise Maich

“Frank was my uncle and died when I was a pre-schooler. I grew up knowing very little about his life, and he was always someone I wished I had known.

“This was one of the reasons I decided to record his story.”

Ms Maich says this book is much more than a hunting book, and became the story of migration, hope, and of overcoming family trials and tragedy.

“Sometimes the task I had set myself seemed overwhelming as I had amassed so much information.

“All the research undertaken, the interviews, not to mention over a thousand photos to clean up and sort through and whittle down to the 200+ images for the finished book.

“It was a matter of how to work all of this information into a coherent narrative. It took years to assemble it all – to find the way into telling Frank’s story.”

Ms Maich says the book taught her more about her family history, allowing her to discover more about her family’s migration story to New Zealand from the former Yugoslavia.

“The story of Finding Frank is woven all through. The title is perfect because I really did have to go out and find him and as I explain in the book, he also found me.

“I’ve always felt that he has been a part of it, putting his hand in so to speak all the wonderful, serendipitous moments.”

Ms Maich says that while it was hard work there was also fun had along the way, and joyous times when it all came together.

“That’s very Frank. He always wanted everyone to be having a good time.”

Join Louise Maich for the Tūranga book launch of Finding Frank on Sunday 3 December.