Pokemon Go madness: NZ man quits job to 'catch 'em all'

Mr Currie is spending about two months travelling through New Zealand on his quest.
Mr Currie is spending about two months travelling through New Zealand on his quest.

AUCKLAND • As the Pokemon Go game reaches new levels of obsession and popularity worldwide, a man in New Zealand has decided to quit his job to "catch 'em all" full-time.

Mr Tom Currie, 24, quit as a barista and bartender at a beachside restaurant in Auckland's northern outskirts to focus on a two-month, countrywide tour hunting for digital monsters on his mobile phone, the BBC reported.

"I wanted to have an adventure," Mr Currie told the Guardian. "I have been working for six years and I was desperate for a break. And Pokemon gave me the chance to live that dream."

He quit his job earlier this month and booked 20 bus trips from New Zealand's northern tip, Cape Reinga, to the South Island's southern coast at Invercargill. He told Stuff.co.nz that by Sunday he had caught 98 of the 151 Pokemon on the smartphone game.

Each day he fills a flask with coffee, packs a rain jacket and lunch in his backpack and heads out to hunt Pokemon, he told the Guardian, calculating that his quest will take two months.

"As you're walking around collecting Pokemon, all of these things get pointed out to you. You never would have looked at them otherwise," he said.

Since attracting international media attention, he is considering offers from two gaming companies in the United States for a job as a professional Pokemon Go instructor.

He told Stuff that Sumner in Christchurch has been a highlight of the trip so far.

"It's just an absolute hot spot. There's a real atmosphere - people go down there and all catch Pokemon together. Everybody's smiling, everybody's happy. Everyone's got something in common, so you can start up conversations and make new friends."

While playing it "day by day" for now, he said he would love to eventually take his Pokemon-hunting international.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Pokemon Go madness: NZ man quits job to 'catch 'em all''. Print Edition | Subscribe