Hamilton's pie king of the north

Big Ben pie
Kyle Hirst doesn't care for fancy pies. Photo credit: Big Ben/Facebook

A former Hamilton man now living in Norway is embarking on a quest to become the "pie king" of Scandinavia.

Kyle Hirst wakes up every day wishing he was back home, where getting your hands on a Big Ben pie is as easy as popping into the local dairy.

"I've been homesick for 16 years. Every day's a pain in the arse - you wake up here, and it's not home," he told Newshub.

"In this country, street food is kebabs - which are decent enough - otherwise it's American hot dogs, or a lefse - small thin bread made of potato. It's shit. There's no pies here, mate."

He's now started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to try and get a Big Ben factory built in Norway.

"I want a pie, but can't be arsed travelling 38+ hours home to get one," the page reads. "Figure a factory here would be easier."

Kyle Hirst
Kyle Hirst. Photo credit: Kyle Hirst/GoFundMe

Mr Hirst chose Big Ben because it brings back memories of having "too many drinks" and stumbling into "the Whitiora service station at three in the morning" on the hunt for food.

Recently he found himself sitting in the canteen at the car parts warehouse in Oslo where he works, forlornly staring at the salad bar.

"I thought f**k, a decent pie would be so good right now. I just sat there at the table eating my chicken and pasta."

He asked Big Ben if he could start a franchise.

"I said if you guys were in a jam, I'd be there for you. I never heard back from them."

A Big Ben pie.
A Big Ben pie. Photo credit: Big Ben/Facebook

So he took to the internet. And though he's only raised about NZ$5 so far, it's sparked in him that DIY, Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit.

"I'm actually gonna try and import some pies, or start making my own."

Others have tried and failed, including the manager of an Irish pub he used to work at. Mr Hirst says that's because they imported English pies, which just aren't the same.

Occasionally gourmet pies appear on the shelves at his local Marks and Spencer, but they just don't scratch the itch Big Ben does.

"This all started because I felt like a Big Ben savoury mince pie, and now I'm actually thinking I could start importing pies into this country," he says.

"Make an empire. Be the pie king of Norway."


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