The Graf Boys (Clyde & Steve) were introduced to the outdoors by their father, Egon. For a period spanning 30 years, Egon Graf was a professional deer hunter, based in Te Urewera National Park.
Te Urewera National Park is different from other national parks around New Zealand. It has no open tops, or snow-capped mountains, and is fully forested. The valley floors are tight, with dense bush encroaching on many of the streams. There are very few wide-open river beds, and the ridges fracture off in zigzag fashion across much of its 220,000 hectares.
The meat-hunter’s life was hard yakka. Animals had to be carried out of the bush, whole, before any money was made. However, the use of a pack frame (shown below) made it possible to carry the heavy loads - sometimes over 110 kilograms - out of the dense bush, effectively.
Hunting full-time, and carrying the heavy loads left no excess fat on the body. Egon often jokes that he was surprised his legs didn't snap off and end up in his butt, but perhaps more surprisingly was, that after carrying thousands of deer out of the national park on his back, he never had a serious injury or fall - and to top it off - has never been lost in the bush! It's an astounding accomplishment. Egon turned 85 this March, and he's still enjoying the great outdoors!
The Graf Boys produced their first hunting video, called Hunting for a Living, in 1997. They have since released many outdoors dvds and videos, which can be viewed on the New Zealand Outdoors page.
In 2006 The Graf Boys were asked by community members from Taupo if they could make a documentary about 1080 poison. They agreed. The documentary was called - A Shadow of Doubt - took 12 months to produce, and it played twice on Maori Television. The film was a subtle introduction to 1080 poison use in New Zealand, with no fingers pointed. (The Graf Boys have since produced over 20 documentaries and short films on the subject of 1080 poison).
In 2008, while exploring the Kahurangi National Park, the brothers filmed a native weka bird feeding on a possum carcass. Endemic birds are meant to be protected, not poisoned by toxic animal carcasses laying around after aerial poison drops. As a result, The Graf Boys spent the next 18 months filming Poisoning Paradise. This time the documentary was blunt, and pulled no punches. The film won multiple international awards, but to this day, no national television station in New Zealand has played the film - despite being offered it free, many times. To watch Poisoning Paradise click here.
Following the release of Poisoning Paradise The Graf Boys spent the next 12 months travelling New Zealand holding public screenings. The film had a big impact. The Crown Law Office requested copies of the film and scrutinised it, but no legal challenge was initiated. Dr Jan Wright - the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) - was commissioned to calm the ever turbulent waters. The Graf Boys were flown to Wellington to be interviewed and were informed by the PCE about why she was undertaking her review - because of the growing public concern, and the impact the opposition campaign was having. In 2011 she released her "independent" report stating that more 1080 poison should be spread across New Zealand's forests and streams.
In 2013, after being elected as the Thames-Coromandel representative for Waikato Regional Council, Clyde Graf teamed up with Kathy White, who was the newly-elected Taupo representative. While further investigating 1080 poison use within Council, the bureaucratic process became more and more revealing, and the opposition to the councillors' research, more intense. The "Code of Conduct" policy was often used against the councillors in an attempt to subdue their progress (Click on the Councils tab to learn more).
It is common for people who speak out about 1080 poison use in New Zealand to be discredited or encouraged out of their jobs. Several prominent scientists have been harshly treated for speaking out about their concerns. DSIR scientist Mike Meads is one example. In 2014, in an attempt to further discredit the work of The Graf Boys, the Waikato Times newspaper printed in a story on its front page that Steve Graf was a convicted bank robber. Nothing was further from the truth - Steve Graf has not had a speeding ticket in his life, let alone a criminal conviction ...
The news story was corrected in its on-line version. It was well known by the media that Clyde Graf did in fact have an Australian conviction dating back to 1986, and that Steve Graf had no involvement. This was publicly revealed by the same news organisation in 2009, and media continue to reference it regularly.
In 2015 the Government revealed to media that a 1080 poison threat had been made against infant milk formula. This was one of the most intimidating periods for all campaigners. When the threat was made public, around 3 months after it took place, the police began questioning anyone that had publicly spoken out against 1080 poison use, and fingerprints and DNA samples were required for suspects to be "eliminated" from the investigation. Some campaigners were concerned that the threat may have been an orchestrated initiative undertaken by those involved in the poison industry - an initiative to intimidate and suppress opposition. Fortunately, the police investigation tracked down the poison-industry blackmailer. The person responsible for making the threat was involved in the poison industry, and reportedly made the threat to encourage greater use of his company's poison, while hoping his threat would see the use of 1080 poison reduced. Meaning more money for his company. The New Zealand Police received an award for their investigative work.
This website presents information intended to encourage debate, and to have questions directed at the Minister for Conservation the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister for Tourism. Should you require answers to the way in which 1080 poison is aerially applied across New Zealand, please contact the Ministers above by clicking on the links provided. Despite the challenges, more and more New Zealanders are challenging and exposing the on-going atrocities undertaken by the New Zealand Government's poisoning agencies.
Editor - Clyde Graf is the editor and researcher for TV Wild, and has interests in defending natural justice and human rights . Nigel Wayne is an assistant editor, and researcher.
Unlike those involved with spreading the poisons, we're unfunded. Lobbying, researching, filming equipment, editing and travel all come at a cost.
Help us to continue to raise awareness, to lobby the poisoning agencies and Government, to continue to gather footage and evidence, and to work toward a moratorium on all aerial 1080 poisoning operations.