From Florida to Otago: How NZs rugged South Island brought a guide from the States

From Florida to Otago: How NZs rugged South Island brought a guide from the States

Bre Lewis has been a hunting guide in Hawea, Otago, for Glen Dene Station on and off for the past six years. 

Lewis is not your average Kiwi hunter, however, growing up hunting in the flat swamps of Florida, she shared her adventurous journey to becoming a hunting guide in the rugged mountains of New Zealand.

She first contacted Richard Burden, the owner of Glen Dean Station, during her final year at a university in Florida. Lewis, who was studying Animal Biology and Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, told REX Today host Dominic George she was interested in exploring opportunities in the guiding industry. 

“I started emailing and then talking on the phone with Richard Burden at Glen Dene my senior year at uni in Florida, and he had me out for an assistant guide position the following season when I graduated," she said.

"It was hard to find someone to take me seriously but the Burdens gave me the opportunity and six years later I'm still here."

Since moving to New Zealand Lewis has managed to find off-season jobs and has absolutely fallen in love with the wild country the South Island provides.

"I just love the opportunities that you have to get outside, whether it's in the mountains or in the ocean. 

"I think it's a great quality of life."

Growing up hunting in Florida, coming to New Zealand provided quite a different challenge, but Lewis was ready for the adventure and was able to adapt what she learnt as a child to her new 'office'.

"I needed to learn to walk on a hill because I hadn't done that much before. 

"But besides that, animal behaviour and understanding about stalking and when to move and then setting up shots, I guess all of that is the same."

Lewis also has a deep passion for archery, a skill she has honed to an impressive level from a young age. 

"I used to do a bit of that when I was in college. It's really fun for you know, and it paired two passions - archery and horseback riding."

The young guide also shared her perspective on the hunting culture in New Zealand. 

She finds Kiwis to be more driven and motivated when it comes to hunting, a difference she appreciates.

Despite visa challenges that have curtailed her plans to guide in British Columbia, Lewis remains optimistic about her future in the industry. She plans to return to New Zealand by February next year to continue guiding for Richard.

Listen to the full chat between Glen Dene Station Hunting Guide Bre Lewis and Dominic George above.

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