When Polly Evans read a survey claiming that the last bastion of masculinity, the real Kiwi bloke, was about to breathe his last, she was seized by a sense of foreboding. Abandoning the London winter she took off on a motorbike for the windswept beaches and golden plains of New Zealand, hoping to root out some examples of this endangered species for posterity. But her challenges didn't stop at the men.
Just weeks after passing her test, Polly rode from Auckland's glitzy Viaduct Basin to the vineyards of Hawkes Bay and on to the Southern Alps. She found wild kiwis in the dead of night, kayaked among dolphins at dawn, and spent an evening on a remote hillside with a sheep-shearing gang. As she travelled, Polly reflected on the Maori warriors who carved their enemies' bones into cutlery, the pioneer family who lived in a tree, and the flamboyant gold miners who lit their pipes with five-pound notes, and wondered how their descendents have become pathologically obsessed with helpfulness and Coronation Street.
The author of the highly acclaimed It's Not About the Tapas reaches some unexpected conclusions about the new New Zealand man - and finds that evolution has taken some unlikely twists.
POLLY EVANS is very cowardly and not at all fond of danger. She does, however, have an unfortunate tendency to seek out discomfort and sometimes even downright pain. It was this ugly trait that led her five years ago to throw in her comfortable office job - complete with its twizzly chair and free use of the coffee machine - and to take off on a leg-battering bicycle tour of Spain.
The result of her endeavours was one very sore set of limbs and her first book, It's Not About the Tapas, which was short-listed for the WHSmith People's Choice Travel Writing award. She indulged in further escapades the following year, this time swapping pedal-power for a motorbike to travel around New Zealand and to write her second book, Kiwis Might Fly. Polly's third book, Fried Eggs with Chopsticks, tells the story of her sometimes-desperate battle to tour China by public transport while On a Hoof and a Prayer sees her learning to ride horses in Argentina.
Polly is also an award-winning journalist. When she's not on the road, Polly lives in London.