Top Shows

Off The Radar


Ask Te Radar: Episodes 1-7

Do you have a burning question to ask our intrepid host? Is there a topic you feel must be addressed. Could you live The Good Life?

Well this is your chance to email Te Radar - just don't expect a serious answer back!

We will pick the best questions/comments each week and let the man himself respond right here.

So get emailing at and put "Ask Te Radar" in the subject field.

Below are Te's answers about episodes 1-7. Click here to go see Te's answers about episodes 8-13.

Episode 7

Lindsay from Wellington writes: Dear Te Radar,
I was fairly well amazed at the episode of Off The Radar this week. Somebody snuck in one night and rustled all your sheep and it seemed your response was: "At least the cows didn't get run over, oh look, it's almost time for the Christmas parade".
Didn't you at least report the theft to Mr Plod? No plaster moulds of tyre tracks? No wanted posters? No message at the end of the show along the lines of: "Dear Mr Rustler, if I ever get my hands on you it'll be a docking ring round the goolies for starters..."
It just seemed odd that you had such a non-reaction to what must proportionately been something of a disaster for your enterprise. Or was there something else at play? Did the other sheep see the Christmas lamb getting shot and, that night, stage a mass breakout? Could they even now be on the lam (so to speak)?

Te Radar: Dear Lindsay

To be fair there was a bit more of a reaction at the time - the kind that is not family viewing. I figured they had got through the fence so I asked all the neighbours to keep an eye out for the awol sheep but the more people I asked the more said "that happens a bit this time of year" or "check down the butchers".

I did put up my wanted posters but that just meant more people ringing to say this happens round Christmas. The neighbour even found her padlocked gate had been taken off its hinges and left leaned in place for a quick raid in the night. I tried not to dwell on it though - taking the moral high ground.

The country is a great place and I didn't want some dirty rotten scoundrels spoiling the spirit of Christmas and I am pleased to report they didn't. Free range turkey is delicious and plentiful and I got the bonus of my new turkling friend.

Andrea writes: This isnt a question but some feedback for you from my two boys Connor 5 and Sam 4.  They love your programme and think that you are very funny.  They count down every week until Sunday night get in their pjs early and hunker down with a mallow puff and watch every week.  Great to see such good tv for all the family!

Te Radar: Dear Conor and Sam
I am glad you find me a little bit funny and hope that you are nice to your mum for letting you watch the show with mallowpuffs. You don't know how lucky you are. The farm has grapefruit and figs for desert which is not so good really. Keep watching and try to have a bath more often than I do.

Fiona and Shane write: Dear Radar,

Well aren't you having a bloody good time.  The fact that your program is screening prime  time, and probably doing pretty well is a wonderful sign of things to come.

We have a long term goal of living off the land too, and I was wondering if my partner could come and do an apprenticeship with you,  so that we can avoid making any silly mistakes down the track.

He is pretty useful, has a welder and can use it well, likes a shovel and fancies himself a bit of a hot shot when it comes to hunting.

Only one problem - he is Australian and would need to learn that NZers and sheep dont quite have the special relationship everyone thinks they do, and he has no idea what no. 8 wire is.

Hoping you can find a home for him anyway!

Loving the show, if only the kids would go to bed early on a Sunday night.

Te Radar: Hi Fiona,

Regrettably I am off the farm now and back home in the city, so I currently do not have anything to show an apprentice.

Shame I didn't know about it when we were filming, as I am sure I could have shown the Aussie a thing or 2.

Hope the goal of living off the land goes well.

Julie asks: I love your show. It's just the kind of entertainment for me on a Sunday evening. You have a great sense of humour and real kiwi attitude. You're my kinda guy ;) 
(p.s. are you single?) cheeky aye!!

Te Radar: Glad you like the show. And alas, no, I'm not currently single, as someone else, who like you also has excellent taste, has snapped me up. Sorry

Episode 6

From Carolyn Slade: Since watching your program, which I am truly enjoying, I have been
everywhere trying to find a sickle like what was shown in your program. Do you have any ideas as I have totally used all of mine. Keep up the great work.

Te Radar: Hi there Glad you are finding inspiration...and better yet the kind that means you get off the couch and do some of it! You are looking for a scythe and yes they are hard to find. Antique versions pop up on Trade Me a bit but they will require some work to get going. 

I had heard there was somewhere near Kaiwaka that stocked the new versions but have had no luck finding that myself.  Sorry I can't be of more help beyond that.  Will post new information as it comes to hand.

From Julieanne in Wellington: I think the show is great and love the experiments!  In the trial of  different methods of growing produce in containers, which method is  working out the best, I only have a small area to garden in and would  appreciate learning from your trial.

Te Radar: Glad you are enjoying my attempts at gardening.  While I clearly haven't had tremendous success and can't claim to be an expert, it seems you can't go past a raised garden bed, with the box made from timber or mud brick, with plenty of good soil and compost mixed in. 

I reckon the best tip is to not make the beds too big and to keep succession planting (thanks for that lesson Betsy) - where you don't plant all your plants at once but in stages so they are ready to be picked at different times. Best tip of all is just to get growing!

Robert in Kerikeri:  I grew up in the Marlborough Sounds where gardens, possums, cows, sheep, goats, chooks, firewood, fishing, eeling, gumboots, and "making do or doing without" was the very fabric of our lives.

Your 'Off the Radar' series is relevant to many Kiwis and certainly entertaining as well as educational. It is my favorite programme by far and is deserving of all episodes on DVD or on TVNZ On Demand website download.

Please tell me that the full episodes will be made available ?

Te Radar: Many thanks for the kind words. I believe that the show will be out on  DVD early next year.

There is also a book which I have written that will be due out in the first week of December. It is more of a behind the scenes look at the show than an actual how to guide, (actually it is more of a how not not to guide). The book is called Off the Radar, so as not to avoid confusion.

Lee asks:  I have tried to source the tablet form of rennet you used in episode 4 when you made feta cheese but no luck in my area.   Have tried the liquid form and the results haven't been successful so far.  Have tried using various amounts in different dilutions but still no hard  curding to speak of - more like cottage cheese. 

Te Radar:  That's a bummer.  You can purchase cheesemaking supplies online at
They sell a rennet stick for $12 plus postage.  They also sell the liquid form so might be able to help with a recipe that uses that.

Maria: Fantastic show, really enjoying the info and laughs. I am rather interested in the scythe you have had appear in a couple of your episodes. What a brilliant tool. Any ideas where I could purchase one other than TradeMe! Looking forward to the rest of the shows.

Te Radar: I never was much chop with homework but I've cracked this one...check out  They have scythes but prepare yourself - a flash one sets you back about $200.  Then again, the frustration of a weed eater probably takes years off your life so it's not a bad deal.

Episode 5

Lee-anne and Blake from Upper Hutt: My 8-year old son thought that making cheese would be a great experiment during the school holidays but unfortunately we can only source liquid rennet at our local supermarket.  In your recipe you use tablet hard form so could you tell me how much liquid rennet I should use.

Te Radar: Thanks for the query and for watching Radar's efforts.  I am no expert - just a keen experimenter so no promises but if you try 1/2 tsp of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup of water, that should work fine.

Nicky asks: I'm loving the show Radar, not only are you full of great ideas :) but having a laugh along with you has been fantastic so thanks for that :)

I'm wondering if you will be producing a book on all that you have learnt along your way?? More home made cheese recipes would be great...I'm about to start my first batch of feta!!

Te Radar: Glad your enjoying the show. There is a book due out in early December about the programme. I don't think I included a cheese recipe in it though, sorry about that. I hope your feta goes well, I couldn't believe how easy it was, and it tastes great.

Episode 4

Anja asks: I would love to be able to make the feta cheese that you were doing...any chance of you posting the recipe on the website?

Te Radar: You can find the recipe here

Episode 3

A whole host of people emailed in asking about the digging fork used in the episode.

Te Radar: Sorry to say they don't appear easy to find in New Zealand. They are also known as a U-bar digger. Some websites are and Not sure if either have local suppliers but no harm in asking.

UPDATE: I have kept on the case and am pleased to report the broadfork is available through They call it a U Bar and you will have to take a few deep breaths before looking at the price!  But just think of all the wonderful produce you'll have.

Bill Cox asks: Hi Radar, great show. I lived in a tent for a year once!  Anyway my question is what sort of tent that you have and can I buy it when the shows over?

Te Radar: It's a jolly good tent all right.

It's an old army tent, (circa 1970, as it has "Defence force mortgage fund" stamped in the inside) that my father purchased from the Scout jamboree in Fielding in 1984ish.

It's not currently for sale, and other than trade-me or an Army surplus shop (although I have never seen one there) I wouldn't know where one could be purchased.

Perhaps Actual Govt / Army sale?

Charlie MacDougall asks: I would like to see more hunting maybe rabbits or do some spotlighting for possums as hunting provides a great food source that is free

Te Radar: You are certainly right that hunting provides a great source of free food, and I do some spotlight rabbit and possum hunting later in the series.

I did a lot more than you see in the programme, but the camera crew cant be with me all the time so you dont see all of it. The rabbits tasted very good indeed. I shot the Turkeys with a double barrelled shotgun, but I am not sure of the make.

Episode 2

Steve Chamberlain writes: Just be carefull, because on Sunday nights programme stock were shifted by truck from one farm to another. Legally when stock gets shifted all stock must be tagged correctly

Te Radar: Thanks for the feedback. We did have appropriate tags and papers for the stock but due to an obvious lack of loading ramp and pens the original owners could not attach all tags. They arrived partially tagged and we finished the job. Also we have had the local tb guy out for a visit to cover all the bases.

Sara Anderson writes: Loving your programme, very funny too see you tromping round the paddock trying to deal with your cows etc. Last night I was watching and I was really disappointed to hear one of your guests say "Im not doing that because Im not gay" or something similar. Please consider how this would have sounded with another word used in a similarly negative context like because Im not Maori, Asian etc. Do you have enough control to ask that to be edited out during the final process?

Te Radar: I have to say the issue of censoring what people say is something of a conundrum. The teenager who made the comment was not doing so to inflame or to pass judgement on sexuality. As you will know from working with youth discribing something as "gay", as he did, is slang for something that is lame rather than being a literal statement about homosexuality . While it isn't a phrase I would use, editing or censoring elliminates the chance for others to exercise and/or question their judgement so here's hoping this has provided a way for the youth you work with to consider their choice of words. Hope you keep watching as the ramblings around the paddock become more rambling!

Lucas Smith writes: I go to Waihi school and I am 13 years old. I would like to ask Te Radar what is the hardest part about living on the farm and what is your favourite vege that you have grown and have you got somenames for your chickens because I have got some good ones for you if you like Margot, Sophie and Silvia. I think that your programmes are really great and we have a landrover just like you one .

Te Radar: Hi Lucas. The hardest part about living on the farm was having to make sure the animals were looked after when I was away working. I often had to go away for a few days to work all around the country, and I didnt manage to train them to feed themselves. The chickens do have names, there is Big Red, Tighty Whitey, and The Pheasant. I do like your suggestions though, are they names of people you know? Hope your landrover is easier to drive than mine. Thanks for your questions

Episode 1

Glen and Debbie Meads write: Just watched your programme last night - was awesome! Just wondering if you could give us the "recipe" for the worm farm?

Te Radar responds: Glad you find my shambolic attempts at surviving entertaining. Keep watching and I build a worm farm from an old bath in episode 3. The instructions for it will be loaded on the website after the show.  Don't forget to feed them a good variety of food, mine got a bit bored with their paper and silverbeet diet.

Jan Ormond and Anna Franklin were both looking for the name and contact details of the woman featured in the episode who had the worm farm and the edible garden.

Te Radar: That was Trish from Rainbow Valley Farms. They have a website -

Matt asks: Do you think that having a nice cup of tea with your legs crossed is probably the nicest thing in the world? Or do you think there are possibly nicer things?

Te Radar: While having a cup of tea with your legs crossed in indeed nice, there are nicer things. Like having a cup of tea with a gingernut biscuit with your legs either crossed , or uncrossed, or better still, entwined in the legs of a special friend.

Click here to go see Te's answers about episodes 8-13.