83 | Barry Crump - Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023

83 | Barry Crump - Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023

Greatest Kiwi Of All Time: No. 86 - Barry Crump (Up 3 from 86 last year)

1980’s New Zealand.  Hudson & Halls were on the TV.  Footrot Flats was at the movies.  And number one on the bestseller list was Wild Pork and Watercress, the sixteenth book by prolific kiwi writer (and good keen man), Barry Crump.

Barry Crump was born in Papatoetoe, his parents were sharemilkers and after leaving school he spent much of his early working years working as a deer-culler in far-flung areas of native forest.

In 1960 his first novel, A Good Keen Man, was published based on his experience in the bush.  The book was about a hunter who had to put up with a series of incapable co-workers.  It would become one of the most popular books in kiwi history.

Crump would go on to write just about a book every couple of years, including A Good Keen Girl in 1970 and Bastard’s I have Met in 1971.  He had a colloquial and raw style of writing, similar to the way he spoke.

Throughout the 1970’s he would become a regular in the Auckland social scene, seen with celebrities like chef Graham Kerr and comedians McPhail and Gadsby. 

He would travel around the world, hunting in Europe, India and for crocodiles in the Aussie outback.

Through the 80s until the early 2000s, Crump appeared alongside Lloyd Scott in a series of absolutely iconic Toyota commercials.  Crumpy and Scotty would also team up as the theme song for Team New Zealand at the 1995 America’s Cup.

There was seemingly a dark side to Barry Crump too.  After his death, he was accused by ex-partners of domestic abuse.

Barry Crump would die in 1996.  His 1986 book Wild Pork and Watercress was adapted by Taika Waititi into the 2016 film Hunt For The Wilderpeople.  “Urewera Rain, it doesn't fall in drops like ordinary rain; it starts like a bucketful of marbles being tipped out on the roof and then it's a continuous stream of white lines, hissing and splashing into the bush, beating everything flat and keeping it there, bouncing spray off every surface.”

His writing, distinctly kiwi.  Couldn’t be from anywhere else.  Barry Crump.  Author, hunter, good keen man… and one of Today FM’s Greatest Kiwis of All Time.