Matthew Kim is a passionate builder who’s recently gone out on his own under the name Arrowtree Builds and spends much of his spare time bow hunting and fly fishing in the Hawkes Bay region. I caught up with Matthew recently on the phone, and it didn’t take long before we were chatting about his primary outdoor interest of bow hunting. Now I find hunting deer hard enough with a rifle, but Matthew takes the hunt a few steps further by using a bow and arrow. He relishes the primal challenge of sneaking up on prey at close quarters – he says his bow has an effective range of around 70 metres.

I was surprised to hear that he hunts both bush and more open areas. In areas of low cover, Matthew says you need to really plan your approach and be extremely patient. His favoured hunting areas are the Kaweka Forest inland from his hometown of Napier, or around friend’s properties that have roaming deer. Man, I certainly wish I had a few more mates like his – maybe I need to move out of the big smoke! The other main outdoor pursuit for Matthew is fly fishing for trout around the local Napier rivers. He says there are a lot of similarities between bow hunting and fly fishing, particularly the stalking aspect. He says around Napier it’s mainly a rainbow trout fishery. He has caught a decent brown trout in the area but says it fought like a sack of spuds – much less exciting than the jumping rainbows he reckons!

Although Matthew is reasonably new to fly fishing, it sounds like he has learned quickly through a buddy who has plenty of expertise. And Matthew says he’s teaching this same mate the art of bow hunting – a nice bit of quid pro quo I reckon! From my brief catch-up with Matthew, it’s clear he doesn’t spend much time twiddling thumbs, as his remaining spare time is invested in the local church community and also renovating an early 20th-century house in Napier with his wife. Matthew is a builder by trade and says his wife has an excellent eye for design, so I’m sure the renovation is in capable hands and coming together beautifully. It sounds like a real labour of love, and I’m always impressed by chippies who invest their free time doing more ‘work’. But perhaps Matthew is one of the lucky few whose passion overrides the feeling of being at work. The building industry came calling for Matthew at an early stage in his life – he started an apprenticeship and spent a bit of time cutting his teeth in the trade in Auckland.

He moved to Napier with his wife about five years ago and got stuck into the local construction industry. Interestingly, he spent a few years specialising in the building of “tiny” houses. This afforded Matthew the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that he wouldn’t have had through standard builds, such as niche carpentry work. More recently, Matthew has gone out on his own under the brand Arrowtree Builds. He says he’s still getting used to the ins-and-outs of running his own business but is thoroughly enjoying it and has plenty of work coming his way, primarily through word-of-mouth. It’s often people with shared faith who Matthew finds himself working both for and alongside, and it seems his philosophy of honest and quality work finds common ground with many in his community.

Still in its infancy, Arrowtree has primarily been focusing on projects such as decks and small renovations – the projects Matthew says larger construction companies rarely want to take on when business is booming. He is also keeping his affinity for building tiny abodes alive, as a week after I spoke to him, he was in Auckland knocking together a few cabins for a good mate. Although Matthew doesn’t have a firm business plan in place yet, he mentioned that it would be great in future to design and build customised cabins in remote areas requiring fourwheel- drive access – no doubt he’s envisaging easy entry to some epic bow hunting and fishing locations I’d say!

And as for growing the business, he says at the moment he’s really enjoying working with his local community, having control over the quality of work produced, and the flexibility that running a small business affords. I wish Matthew all the best for the future and hope he has plenty of spare time to enjoy his outdoor pursuits – although it sounds like he’s already found a great balance between work and play.