Ask Te Radar | OFF THE RADAR | TV ONE | [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Ask Te Radar
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Throughout the series Te Radar has been answering your questions. He writes:

'Hello everyone, just a quick and heartfelt thanks to all of those who emailed the site, and to all of those who enjoyed the show.

It certainly was a wonderful privilege to have been given the opportunity to have participated in it. It is immensely satisfying to have received all of the emails, and to be stopped in the street, by people who enjoyed the show, and especially those who have taken up the chance to get outdoors and get growing.

I've even had several emails from people who now have their own bonsai lawns!

So thanks again far watching, and now I really must get outside and think about planting something...

Aroha nui

Te Radar

PS, If it isn't too bold, could I suggest that if you would like to know about all of the hilarity and catastrophes that went on behind the scenes that you purchase the book I wrote about the show, handily entitled "Off the Radar", in all good bookstores now.'

Episode 13

Lesley writes: I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed the show you have inspired us to dig up half the back yard and plant veg and they're delicious!  You were the highlight of the week for my 4 year old, Jamie.  He was singing the "Off the Radar" tune yesterday and asked what day the show was on.  He burst into tears and was consolable only with a chocolate biscuit when we told him it was finished.  Can't wait for the DVD to come out will save me heaps on dental bills!

Te Radar: Hi there Lesley,

I certainly did have a wonderful time making the series. Im certainly very glad that people have responded so well to it.  As for digging up the back yard, not only do you get all of those veges but think of the fact that you no longer have to mow all that lawn!

And if you cant wait for the DVD there is always the book, which is out now, it may even make suitable bedtime reading for Jamie... Although with a little judicious editing of some of the more graphic events.

And the theme song certainly was catchy, it was actually sung by the editor of the show, a man of many talents.

Jacqui & Andreas write: Really loved your show.  Even my 3 year old son looked forward to Sunday nights!  Could you stand another 10 month stint on the land?  Hope so
cos' we're looking forward to another episode!  Useful information presented
in a humorous way.

Te Radar: Hi there, I'd love to go back to the land, certainly for longer than 10 months, but alas work keeps me tied to the city at the moment. But who knows, maybe we'll do something else again in the future.

Stephen & Carolyne Lewis write: Absolutely loved the show. We want to know if there is a DVD of this programme so we can send it to our Son, Daughter-in-law and 2 young granddaughters living in Jubail, Saudi Arabia for Christmas. They live in a western compound and it would be an awesome DVD night for internationals in the compound, Thank you so much for this quality programme.

Te Radar: Glad you are such keen fans! The DVD is on its way but might not make it in time for the Christmas post. It is intended to be in stores a few days before the big day, fingers crossed, if not, it will be there in the New Year. Hoe, hoe, hoe!.

Gale and Ian write: We have just watched your last show with some sadness and a smile. What a great kiwi bloke you are! Give anything a go, that's the spirit! Anyway, we want to give the mud oven a go at Christmas time when all the rellies are together. Where did you get  the mud/clay? Is it the clay you buy if you want to make an earthenwhare pot? How much of it did you get?

Te Radar: The mud oven is truly a miracle cooker. My clay cam from the ground as I had plenty of poor soil but you will be able to get it from a landscape supplies type place - where you buy top soil and bark and such like. Happy cookin'... Just watch the burn time. I didn't call it the kiln for nothing!

Episode 12

Maria asks:
Gidday Radar, Loving your show and will be very sad to see it end as it has become the weeks favourite programme.  We are very interested in your outside bath. We do not have a bath and I am sure the kids would love a wee soak under the stars. Was there anything you had to do to the bath before lighting her up? And what did you use to light under your bath?

Te Radar: Its as simple as pop the bath on a platform or dig a bit of a trench underneath so there is room for a fire.... Check there is nothing too close fire that will catch alight... Fill with water, build a fire and light. And don't forget to put a block of wood inside to spit on or you will burn your bum!

I used a lot of pine cones for fuel. You need to start off with fine kindling and maybe a decent sized piece of wood and then cones from there. It takes a bit of experimenting to know how big to make the fire. I did have to get out a few times as I was in danger of broiling. Enjoy your outdoor bath - its a wonderous thing

Colleen in Whangarei writes:
 Hi Te Radar, Absolutely adore the show.  Valuable insights you share with New Zealand in the hope that some others too, see the other side of life!
Couldn't bring myself to watch the part of Sainsbury's departure! 

I did however ask my mother who is a veteran farmer and very apt at the alternative way of animal husbandry.  For what it is worth, her advise was to dose Sainsbury with 3/4 of a cup of castor oil and monitor his progress! 

The reason I asked her opinion, was that she has successfully healed many a facial eczema case with this process.  She healed a very large bull, who looked to be in a worse state than Sainsbury showed and was out serving the cows 2 months after his ordeal!  Maybe it was different 'on the set' but he did appear to be at least eating and that was positive. 

One thing she did say, was she watched in disbelief as he was shot!  For those that are interested, the castor oil apparently 'rids' the liver of toxins.  Won't always work but well worth a go! Keep up the good work.  You are really entertaining and I LOVE your bath!
PS I have got a bath like it, when the cows aren't in the front paddock!

Te Radar: If only you and your mum were on the farm! It was a sad day that I wished could have been avoided. In the interests of not scaring kids, we used earlier shots (unfortunate word use there) of Sainsbury in better health.

Yet I suspect cod liver oil might have saved him as he was still nibbling a little of his special feed. He just didn't respond to the vet's modern potion - but sometimes it is the old fashioned remedies that really work. Thanks for the advice as I vow never to loose an animal to facial excema again. Hope you enjoy your bath as much as I did - what a treat - even better with the cows for company I say.

John & Helen Hammond ask: We were watching your last programme and you mentioned cow manure coming from a cow horn. We would be very interested to find out how this is done please. We believe it is buried in the ground for 12 months or something. We would be extremely interested in having the instructions of how to make it etc.

Te Radar: That wonderful brew is the brainchild of John Pearce, a bio sustainability guru. In essence he buried sillica filled cow horns in cow manure for 12 months and then dilluted the manure in water and sprayed it on his land. There might be more to it but that's the bit I know. He has put out a booklet called The Sustainable Dream which might be handy.

Viv writes: Last week on your programme you did a bit on a guy who did a big tank of stuff which you put a fish head in. He told you what herbs to put in to make it a living organism. One was stinging nettles and the other I can't remember. Could you tell me what that Item was.

Te Radar: John Pearce is truly a visionary. The other ingredient was chamomile but I am not sure that it is as simple as just chucking a handful in. John was written a small book that might be helpful called The Sustainabile Dream and he also runs courses on different techniques at Unitec in Auckland

Michael writes: Hey Radar, love your show, I was just wondering who's idea the show was, and if you're planning on doing another series anytime in the future. 

Te Radar: While I would love to take the credit for devising this aggrian adventure, it is the brainchild of Jam TV who I came to know through doing Intrepid Journeys, another one of their fine productions.

I would like to think I can keep growing both literally and in a televisual sense so fingers crossed the powers that be think so too Thanks for the feedback and enjoy The Last Supper... That's my final shindig in next week's ep

Episode 11

Linda asks : Please could you share the cider apple recipe?  Would this work using pears for a change? Our chooks are laying!

Te Radar : The cider recipe can be found here. Go the chooks! Aren't eggs the freakiest yet tastiest things. I think pear will make a most delicious cider although I am clearly only a beginner in the fermenting stakes. It will be more potent than an apple cider but will be sweeter. Only advice I have is it pays to leave it to mellow if you can bear to wait... I rushed a bit and she can be a bit sharp! Rudolph also said you can add sugar to the brew when you are bottling it if you find it too tangy.

Martin asks: Due to poor time management, travelling times caused by crossing our country's great terrain and an inability of anyone to work our video recorder, I missed this week's show. Are they going to be available for viewing on TVNZ On Demand or similar?

Te Radar: There is nothing worse than a technical foul up except hours and hours of driving... Rest assured the dvd is on its way soon so maybe someone nice can shout you a copy.

Episode 10

Charlie Macdougall writes: Dear Te Radar, loving the show!
Where abouts was the program filmed? How much money were you spending on food compared to how much you were harvesting??

Te Radar: Glad my flock and I are keeping you amused. My paddock paradise was on the edge of the wonderful township of Kaukapakapa.

In the beginning I got $20 to spend on food but once my crops flourished and the hunting haul began I didn't need all of that. I just bought the odd can of spag and things like olive oil to make life easier. I can't recommend enough the wonder of growing good produce so if you are even slightly thinking of doing it, put in a veggie patch.

Maria writes: Hi Te Radar, I was unhappy when Country Calendar finished (it being my favourite program, possibly that's a bit sad to admit coming from a 38yr old female or not!), but your program has been great.  Love the info, love the humour and just love the basic 'live off the land' bit about it so thanks! 

Ummm..thought you might like to know that if I ever had the chance to share a meal with a presenter from TV ONE it would've been Paul Henry but since watching both programs with you presenting it would now be you Te Radar!  Haha! I'd love to tell Paul Henry that he's been replaced by a Waikato boy as most interesting TV person in my mind.  (By the way Im NOT single if you think that I'm hinting for a date.)

Te Radar: Crickey. That might just be the nicest feedback ever. Glad you think I do a decent job but honestly there is quite a team in the background making me look good... Well as good as I can look after eight months in a paddock with intermitent bathing. Thanks a bunch. I will get cracking on some new ideas right this minute.

Episode 9

Lisa & Family, Katikati ask: Kia Ora Radar. Fantastic viewing on Sunday night. I jam the microwaved warmed bottles of non-organic dairy milk into the mouths of my two babes just as your show starts so we can at least hear the first 10minutes of your witty, articulate banter...often between you and an unwitting wee animal destined to be a meal. We love your show and as intending organic lifestyle blockers its been really valuable to boot.
Make sure they fund you for another round of something similar or pick up where you left of with this series.
I'd love to know where you got your giant bags of organic vege mix we saw you pouring into your revised vege boxes, Sunday 19th Oct.

Te Radar: Kia ora and ka pai for the kind words. At this stage I am back in town so enjoy my organic blundering while you can. As for the vegie mix, it is by Living Earth and is available from 0800 compost or online at
Happy gardening!

Episode 8

Renee writes:What will you do when male pattern baldness strikes in 10 years time?
Grow a better beard?

Te Radar: Having been completely bereft of hair in the past (by choice) I am comfortable with the shape of my head without hair, so baldness holds little fear.

What I may do will be to simply grow it really long on the sides, like some kind of mad monk.

A beard would be great, I have grown several in the past, and may grown one to complement a bald head. Id quite like to sculpt one like those of an of the Amish men.

Andrew from Christchurch writes: I understand that your programme is about living sustainably.

Last week I attended a wastewater conference in Melbourne where there was considerable focus on the emerging need to develop systems for resource recovery (water and nutrients) from wastewater streams.  An eminent American keynote speaker (George Tchobanoglous)  along with other speakers at the conference referred to peak phosphorous and the risk this presents globally to food security. At the moment many cities are pumping millions of cubic meters of wastewater with their increasingly valuable nutrients out to sea to be deposited in sea floor sediment and rendering it impracticable to recover. 

Our city (Christchurch) is currently building such a pipeline.  It wont be long before we are going to have to go out to the end of the pipelines put in a u fitting and send it back to land to mine the nutrients.  

What was discussed in some scientific  detail at this conference  was the option of separating out the urine at the source as way of nutrient recovery. Urine is the main source of nutrients in our wastewater streams and is a very concentrated source.    See attached details of my own urine separating compost loo maybe you should include this in your so-called sustainable living project. 

A good website  is (set up by the University of Tech, Sydney)

Last year super phosphate in NZ was $190/ton, now it is $400/T and expected to rise rapidly.

While nitrogen fertiliser  is not limited, its production is very energy intensive i.e it require 2 L of oil to produce 1 kg of N fertliser.

Producer Jane Andrews writes: Your project sounds fascinating and certainly forward thinking. We did look into forms of composting toilets for this programme however the requirements of our local council for resource consent to build one were prohibative for this project given it only lasted ten months.

Peter from Kerikeri writes: I am enjoying your show very much. Have you had any success finding where the chap on your programme purchased his scythe? I assume he knows where he bought it. Do you have his contact details?

Te Radar: I have been doing my homework and found out about the scythe stockists. They are available at
Look in the hand tools section. You buy and handle seperately from the blade and the one Wolfgang used had a 55cm blade. Good luck mowing the old school way.... Remember to stretch first!

Charlie MacDougall writes: I am absolutely loving the show and definately want to get the book when its coming out. I hear your in the city now. Do you want to get back into the country lifestyle?  Also I'm enjoying the hunting.

Te Radar: Hi Charlie.

At some stage I would love to get back to the country, but alas a decent block of land within striking distance of Auckland is a little pricey at the moment.

Maybe one day I'll retire early to a far flung block and mooch around, but for now its the city, alleviated by visiting friends and family in the country.

Click here to see Te's answers about episodes 1-7.

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