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Branch History

Below are recollections of Dave Atkins, generously provided by one of the founding members John Riley:

With encouragement from John Henderson, Hong Tse, Andy Gurney and Russ Mitchell both committee members of the Wellington Branch of N.Z.D.A. set out to find out if there were enough hunters in the Upper Hutt area, to form a new Branch of the Assoc.

As the upper valley probably had more pig hunters then deerstalkers, and it was their habit to frequent the local hostelries, on Saturday afternoons, it was here that Andy Gurney sowed the early seeds, of a pig hunting club among the usually “muddy”, “bloody” and “happy” hunters of the valley.

Early on, It was the 1080 petition, which caught the locals attention, and when he had cleverly suggested they join Wellington Deerstalkers, the usual answer was, “like hell, they are all wowsers, in the big smoke” so the idea of a local Upper Hutt Branch went down very well.

Russ Mitchell and Andy Gurney started, by booking the W.D.F.F hall in King Street and with advertising in the local paper, and in the sports shop, attracted a public audience of over seventy, for the first meeting on the 20th September 1960.

John Henderson, Hong Tse, Bob Baigent, and Mel Copp all supported this event with hunting films, and a talk by John B. Henderson on the aims of the N.Z.D.A. The meeting elected an interim committee, to steer the members towards full branch status. Russ Mitchell was the chairman, Don Tatham, was secretary treasurer, Andy Gurney was liaison officer to Wellington Branch, and John Buchanon recruiting officer.

Monthly meetings were held, and the November meeting recorded 18 members present. All subscriptions were paid to Wellington Branch, on the understanding that as soon as possible, Upper Hutt would get branch status.

On the 4 December 1960 the first shooting field day was held on Mr. Keith Lindsay’s farm at Karapoti. 18 people took part R. Mitchell, P. Haughton, R. Baistow, S. Macaskill, G. Page, A. Gurney, D. Atkins, R. Wilson, J. Buchanan, L. Stratford, L. Buchanon, K. Morgan, D. Mathews, G.Lynch. J. Kennedy, K.Richards, J.Whiteman, R.Whiteman.

They all paid 2/6p each and the sub branch funds were started. Two more shoots were held at Karapoti while the search for a more suitable range site was begun. Eventually it was Don Tatham, who arranged with Claude and Bro. Swanson, for the use of “58 valley” as our permanent range site.

By February 1961, some agitation from members to break away from Wellington, caused a resolution to the effect that “as soon as we have 30 or more members we will go it alone”.

By May of 1961 we had been given a house in Akatarawa for demolition, and it was demolished and stored in two days. This was to be our first range hut in Whitemans Valley.

The first shoot at the new range was set for 3 September 1961.

At the interim committee meeting on the 6 February 1962, the chairman reported that as there were now 40 members on the Wellington Branch, living in the Valley, permission to apply to the National Body for full Branch status was given.

First AGM

The first A.G.M was arranged for the 20 June 1962 and 39 members attended. Don (Spud) Tatham was elected as the U.H.N.Z.D.A. first president with Mike Reddington, Andy Gurney, Dave Atkins, Les Stratford, Russ. Mitchell, Keith Morgan and John Buchanan (Rodger Reddington also attended the first committee). Hong Tse, the Wellington Branch President, presented the new branch with a cheque for 100 pounds, and a magnificent bronze stag trophy, for competition. The whole Wellington Branch committee attended, and wished the new branch every success. At the first new committee meeting it was unanimously agreed to name the new branchs first trophy “The Wellington Branch Trophy” and that it should be for the best Red Deer Antlers, shot in the North Island, and south of the Manawatu.The range hut was nearly finished, only the roof remained to get on. By December 1962 Incorporation was decided on, joining F.M.C was agreed to, and the first dance arranged, and held at the Arcadia Ballroom. This returned a profit of 18 pounds 1s and 6p. Temporary range rules were written and printed by Les Stratford and Dave Atkins. The first organized goat shoot for younger members was organized by John Buchanan and Dave Atkins. Public Liability and membership insurance was completed by February 1963, as was admission to the incorporated society.

Howard Egan (later to become National President) was made a member. Keith Morgan as the first secretary, had an enormous task of getting the Branch’s business matters in order, and eventually got the first newsletters out to members. Andy Gurney was the first treasurer and with his background on Wellington Branch Committee and help from Leon Riley, the book keeping and branch funds were in good hands. The Dave McKelvy Cup for the two-position shoot was accepted in 1963, Fire insurance of 500 pounds was taken out on the range hut. Andy Gurney became the branch repesentative for W.A.M.C.

Search and rescue was promoted by Dave Atkins, but the Branch was not accepted by the “wowsers” in the big smoke. So, we held our own trail searches etc. Upper Hutt Branch now took on the might of the “Wellington Water Board” in search of hunting blocks. The amount of closed land administered by the Board completely surrounded the Valley and in the next few months the battle raged. Petitions to the Wellington Mayor, Sir Frank Kitts, The Forest Service, The Water Board, culminated with the Chief Ranger being temporarily suspended, and as a peace offering later the Pakuratahi Water shed was offered to the Branch. This was accepted naturally, and then the brown hit the fan. The Tararua Tramping Club objected, the W.A.M.C. objected and finally N.Z. Forest Service stopped it completely. National Conference 1963, four delegates attended, Russ. Mitchell, Keith Morgan, Don Tatham and Andy Gurney (held at Nelson).

Second AGM

Second A.G.M June 1963 new President Russ. Mitchell (also fire arm safety officer) Vice President Les Stratford, Keith Morgan Secretary, Andy Gurney Treasurer, Howard Egan Publicity Officer, Jack Chapman-Taylor Range Officer, Dave Cumming Social Convener and John Buchanan.Andy Gurney organized the first hunting trip of the year to Ruapai Forks. Membership now at 54, and many more interested. Range hut now completed, and good relations with Swanson Brothers.Negotiations were started to join the F.M.C. organization. The Interbranch shoot was held with seven branches taken part, there was also a prize shoot with prizes to the value of 30 pound to compete for. Many hunting trips were organized, some as far away as’ Lake Rotoiti” down south, and Karioi Forest, up north. Negotiations for Water Board land to lease were an ongoing thing, and Les Stratford and John Buchanan were the main organizers. The Annual Dinner was to be held at the Upper Hutt Bowling Club Pavilion, this was a great success, due solely to the social committee, and its convener Dave Cumming. An unfortunate incident occurred, when Mr. and Mrs. Mike Redington were leaving the event, they were inadvertently showered by a committee member, and complained in writing to the committee. This led to an apology and the resignation from the Branch of the member concerned. At this time Andy Gurney resigned from the committee, and Howard Egan took on the job of Treasurer. Accumulated funds 71 pounds W.J.I. Cowan honorary auditor.

Third AGM

Third A.G.M.17th June1964 new President Jack Chapman-Taylor, Vice President Keith Morgan, Secretary Dave Atkins, Treasurer “Claude” Shallcrass, Range Officer John Riley, Social Convener Dave Cumming, Publicity Officer Russ. Mitchell, Public Relations, Keith Morgan, Branch Librarian John Hodges, Auditor again Leon Riley. The Branch now has 70 members and the bank accounts in a sound position. A Notice of Motion from the Executive read ”that 2/3rds of the present cash assets be transferred to an account styled “building fund” and that 2/3rds of each year’s accumulated funds be transferred to the account also.” This was challenged by Dave Atkins, saying it would tie the hands of future committees to much, and the Motion was amended to read “and in future years :some like amount” as recommended by the committee, be transferred to this account,” and it was passed. The first “ smoko” was organized, and held in the “Rose Of Sharron Hall”. The delegates for National Conference at Wanganui were Russ Mitchell, and Dave Atkins. The “Junior Champions Trophy” was presented to the Branch by the 1964-65 committee, being made by Jack Chapman-Taylor and Don Tatham. The committee instructed the secretary to obtain a photograph album to record all the competition prints and records. The rules were made for the Russ Mitchell colour slide trophy. Two new trophies were accepted by the committee these were the Hong Tse Trophy for “other wild life” and the Peter Owles Trophy for ‘stalking interest”. The first picnic was held in Dec 1964 and was a huge success with50 adults and over 60 children attending. Thanks must go to Barry Goodman and John Riley for a good effort. Thanks also to Bert Jaspers for great “Dutch” hangi. The inaugural Ladies Shoot was won by Betty Atkins who scored 24.1 and took home the “Stag Plate”. Fixture cards, with an annual program were provided for all members.

Fourth AGM

Fourth A.G.M. 16 June 1965 re-elected President Jack Chapman-Taylor, Vice President Mike Redington, Rodger Redington and Bob Parsons Social and Trip Conveners. Mike Redington and John Riley Rifle Range and Publicity. Claude Shallcrass Treasurer, and Dave Atkins as Secretary. 95 members now. The Smoko was held July 3rd and what a booze up, one invited Aussie was heard to say “and I thought Aussies drank”. Andy Gurney still pressing for Search and Rescue to get started but L.D. Bridges and co. in the big smoke don’t want to know us. So again, we formed our own group, and had a good list handed into the local police. We held our exercises in the local hills. The idea of a bush craft course was very popular, and arrangements made. Firearm safety, and school instruction was proposed by Don. Tatham. Accumulated funds 276 pounds Leon Riley honorary auditor.

Fifth AGM

Fifth A.GM 15th June 1966 President Dave Atkins, Vice President Bob Parsons. Committee members Russ. Mitchell,Rodger Redington, John Hodges, Bruce Quickfall, and Don Tatham. Leon Riley again as auditor now 109 members.

The major additions to the Range Hut nearly completed. Rosters completed every month for newsletters, by Jack Chapman-Taylor and John Riley, members came out of the woodwork and gave their time and skills. Dave Atkins and Frank Riley met about forming an Upper Hutt pistol club. Mr. Riley a police officer had the contacts and eventually the Heretaunga Pistol Club was formed with police accepting the proposal, to have centre fire pistols, as part of the new club rules, etc. The first shoots were held in an Army hut in Trentham Camp. Wellington Branch wrote to us enquiring about forming another Sub Branch in Lower Hutt, as by this time many of our members came from that area. Nobody was willing to organize it, so it fell through. Claude and Bro. Swanson were invited to become honorary members. The moving target was completed, and trial runs proved very successful. Accumulated funds 431 pounds Leon Riley honorary auditor.

Sixt AGM

Sixth A.G.M. 21st June 1967 New President Mike Redington, Vice President Bob Parsons, John Riley, Bruce Quickfall, Jack Chapman-Taylor, Alistair McLay, Duncan Harvie, and Pat Black committee members. 75 members present. Arrangements started to hold the National Shoot. Andy Gurney to be organizing range office. Jack Chapman-Taylor organizing rosters for the range hut addition which is going well. National Shooting date to be February 1968. (Huge success). Our Search and Rescue team finds boys lost in the Rimutakas. Annual dinner to be held in the Victoria University Union Building. Motion to the A.G.M Jack Chapman-Taylor proposed that woman be accepted to the Branch Dave Atkins spoke against it, it was passed so club rules to be changed. Accumulated funds 664 pounds Leon Riley honorary auditor.

Seventh AGM

Seventh A.G.M 19th June 1968 President Bob Parsons, Vice President Pat Black, Alistair McLay, Robin Blake, John Bain, R. Reid, Russ.Mitchell, Jeff Cook, Leon Riley auditor. 275 members with 49 attending the A.G.M. Subs to be $6 reduced to $5.50 if paid within 65 days of A.G.M. The Marrow Trophy was won by the Branch, awarded for the greatest increase in membership. Jack Chapman-Taylor is National Champion, with Robin Blake second and the Branch won the National Team Shoot. Range hut is completed to 1400 square feet. Bill Jones wins Tisdall Rose Bowl for us with a Fallow Head, but Andy Gurney questions his score, and gets the decision reversed. Lynn Harris Trophy and rules accepted by the Branch for100m. bench rest shoot. Upper Hutt A wins the Tisdall CupTeam Shoot. Wellington 2nd., Horowhenua 3rd., Upper Hutt B 4th. Bill Jones uses the wrong powder in his hand loads, and has to knock his rifle bolt open with a bit of 4x2. Branch finance, $344.37 over drawn at savings account, so special permission needed to draw from building fund. A raffle was organized to make money, with a new Mauser as first prize. 16 members went south to the sounds, very successful trip. Both senior and junior shooting teams successful against Wellington again. Accumulated funds 2033 pounds Leon Riley honorary auditor.

Eigth AGM

Eighth A.G.M June 1969 President Mike Redington again, Vice President Jack Chapman-Taylor, John Riley, John Hodges, Ted Britton, Keith Morgan, Jack Chapman-Taylor(junior), Wally Hewitt, Bob Reid, Garry Pettit, and Jeff Cook committee members.117 members. Annual Dinner to be at Victoria University again, $8.50 each. Followed by a monster smoko, dancing girls from the purple onion and crown and anchor, etc. Running boar now included at range days. Capitation overpaid by $132. Panic stations club broke.

Ninth AGM

Ninth A.G.M. June 1970 President John Hishon, Vice President Keith Morgan, Russ.Mitchell, Wally Hewitt, Jack Chapman-Taylor(junior), Garry Pettit, Bert Gray, Alan Wilde and Phil. Hamilton committee members. 117 members. Bush craft courses started very successful. Membership increasing again. Wapiti culling now on for 1971. B.B.Q at range very successful. Hay making at Swansons farm.

Tenth AGM

Tenth A.G.M June 1971 President John Hishon, Vice President Garry Pettit, Keith Morgan, Wally Hewitt, Russ. Mitchell, Alan Wilde, Bert Gray, Phil. Hamilton, Bruce Quickfall, Bob Reid, Dave Daly, Grant Pemberton and Peter Milne committee members. 185 members. Annual Dinner a huge success again. B.B.Q at the range run popular and profitable men only smoko also profitable. The first comprehensive bush craft was also a successe. Mike Redington presented the Iron Sight Trophy. St. Johns benefit shoot organized. Andy Gurney’s bird dog scoffs more then his share at the smoko. Annual Dinner held in Upper Hutt Town Hall. Branch gets it’s own addressograph from Bruce Quickfall. Bruce McMillen nominated to represent N.Z. at the Olympics in pistol shooting.

Eleventh AGM

Eleventh A.G.M . June 1972 President Gary Pettit, Vice President Bert Gray, Wally Hewitt, Peter Milne, Dave Daly, Bob Reid, Gary Pemberton, Alan Wilde, John Morton, Alain Jorion, T.Cooper and Bob Badland committee members. Garry Pettit resigns after six months and Bert Grey becomes President.50 members present. Annual Dinner at Upper Hutt Town Hall again. Barry Price wins National Shoot. Accumulated funds $754. John P.Clapham honorary auditor.

Twelfth AGM

Twelfth A.G.M June 1973 President Bert Gray, Vice President, Keith Morgan, secretary Wally Hewitt, Treasurer Bob Badland, T. Cooper, Bob Reid, Alain Jorion, John Morton, Dave Daly, Bruce Quickfall, Peter Murphy, I. Noble, Duncan Smith and Brian Green committee members. 40 members present. Legal battles over access to the Haurangi Forest Park and over the helicopter hunting in the Tararuas.Bush craft o.k. Warnings that we might lose the rifle range.

Thirteenth AGM

Thirteenth A.G.M June 1974 President Dave Akins, Vice-President Don Tatham, Secretary Dave Cummings, Treasurer Bob Badland, John Riley, Bruce Quickfall, Robin Blake, Tony Shore, Duncan Smith, Keith Morgan, Alain Jorion, Phil Hamilton, Doug Davies, Murray Mcloughlan and Chris Cable committee members. Annual Ball held for the first time, $600 profit too. Several searches through year. Come alive week a success. Accumulated funds $1959.59 John Hishon honorary auditor

Fourteenth AGM

Fourteenth A.G.M May 1975 President Keith Morgan, Vice President Peter Milne, Bob Badland. Dave Cumming, Dave Atkins, Murray McLoughlan, John Riley, Rodger Redington, Doug Davies, Phil.Hamilton, Rick Baylis, Geof.Henderson, Duncan Smith, Alan Wilde committee members. We raffled a motor cycle. The search and rescue team found 3 small boys in Wainuiomata. Accumulated funds $3126.07 H.S.Gray honorary auditor.

Fifteenth AGM

Fifteenth A.G.M 1976 President Doug Davies, Vice President Geof. Henderson, Mike Bradley, Steve Richards, Garry Smith, Rick Baylis, Rodger Redington, Murray McLoughlan, Peter Milne, Bob Badland, Alan Scholes, Chris. Cable Andy McCall, Bert Grey and Peter Murphy committee members. Large display in Maidstone Mall. Looking for new rifle range. Dulcie Riley won first place in the National Kaimanawa Branch Trophy.

Seventeenth AGM

Sixteenth A.G.M 1977 President Doug. Davies, Vice President Rick Baylis, Bruce Billington, Laurie Jack, Mike Bradley, Gary Smith, Stuart Baylis, Ian Taylor, John Scurfeild, Bob Gorton, Bob Badland, Alan Scholes, John Sydow committee members. 40 members present. Preparation for the 1978 Exhibition. Fighting to keep helicopters out of the Tararuas. Seventeenth A.G.M 1978 President Rick Baylis, Vice President Bruce Billington, Bob Badlands, Stuart Baylis, Max Hurley, Alan Scholes, Ian Taylor, Glen Scoble, Barry McLure, Steve Richards, Duncan Davies Grant Pemberton and Ian Taylor committee members. Largest event was the Exhibition of Hunting. This Branch with Wellington did most of the planning and the work also (but a financial disaster).

Eighteenth AGM

Eighteenth A.G.M 1979 President Rick Baylis, Vice President Max Hurley, Stuart Baylis, Bob Badland, Bruce Billington, Dan Hill, Alan Scholes, Alan Davies, Peter Dunbar, Robin Blake, Ian Taylor, Chris Bowen, Dave Sorenson and John Kelsey, committee members.

Nineteenth AGM

Nineteenth A.G.M 1980 President Rick Baylis (3rd time), Vice President Bruce Billington, Ian Taylor, Ian Hill, John Kelsey, Bob Badland, Stuart Baylis, Robin Blake, Alan Scholes, Dave Hartstein, Graham Pilling, Dave Sorenson, Alan Davies and Paul Taylor. Helicopters on live deer recovery in the Tararuas. We have lost the Whitemans Valley Rifle Range.We have moved out on to the Trentham Shooting complex, have accepted an offer of Wellington Regional Council land at Kaitoke.The Annual Ball was a financial disaster.

Twentieth AGM

Twentieth A.G.M 19 81 President Rick Baylis (4th time) Vice President Ian Taylor, Robert Innes Peter Miller, Peter Raven, Gordon Kemp, Dean Waddington, Doug Davies, Bob. Badland, Stuart Baylis, Robin Blake, Graham Pilling Dave Hartstein and Paul Taylor.20 members present. Work on the range going well.

Twenty first AGM

Twenty first A.GM 1982 No President elected, Vice President Ian Taylor, Rick Baylis, Stuart Baylis, John Kelsey, Dave Hartstein, Robert Innes, Gordon Kemp, Bob Badland, Robin Blake, Paul Miller, Peter Raven, (New members on the committee were) Dan Rutter, John Leith, Paul Driscal, Gavin Grinstead, John McPherson.

Twenty Second AGM

Twenty Second A.G.M 1983 President John Martin, Vice President Ian Taylor, Stuart Baylis, Peter Dunbar, Warren Birch, Terry Nelson, Allen Woodgate, Rick Baylis, Dave Hartstein John Leith, Robert Innes, Gavin Grinstead, Robin Blake, Peter Raven, Gordon Kemp, John McPherson, Dan Rutter, Paul Taylor.

Twenty Third AGM

Twenty Third A.G.M 1984, President John Martin again reluctantly, Vice President John McPherson, Paul Taylor, Terry Nelson, Dave Burns, Dave Hartstein, Ian Taylor, Peter Raven, Rick Baylis, Warren Birch, Gavin Grinstead, Terry Nelson, Phil. Hamilton, Gordon Kemp, John Leith, Robert Innes, Dan Rutter, Allan Woodgate.

Twenty Fourth AGM

Twenty Fourth A.G.M 1985 President John McPhearson, Vice President John Leith, Dave Burns, Stuart Baylis, John Leith, Eric Johnson, Phil. Hamilton, Bob Badland, Rick Baylis Joe Barry. Many others on separate committees.

Twenty Fifth AGM

Twenty Fifth A.G.M 1986 President Phil.Hamilton, Vice President Eric Johnson, Jim Cousins, Chris Ellicot, Ian Taylor, Joe Barry, Andrew Gilcrest, Warren Birch, Robin Blake, Bob Gorton, Robert Gilchrest. 20 members present. Owing to lack of details by the last few secretary’s Branch membership and other details are hard to find. P.S As we had an A.G.M in June 1962, before we became a full Branch, 1986 was the 25th A.G.M actually held, although 1987 will be the actual 25 years since starting the Branch.

Some more recollections:

(Page 13 hard to translate) This could be written in the past tense, if printed after the date.

Unable to read this paragraph from original

Two committee members, Andy Gurney and Russ. Mitchell set out to find the local hunters. Andy Gurney had many contacts out there, ??? ??? ??? and by meeting at the local establishments between 4 and 6pm on Saturday soon had many of the locals interested. Being very parochial ??? ??? ?????? in Wellington Club.

‘ Never go into the big smoke’, said some, but he persuaded them, by promising to have an Upper Hutt Branch, as soon as we could get 35 or more members.??????????? The first public meeting was at the W.D.F.F Hall in King Street, on 20th September 1960 with over 70 people attending. The Wellington Branch President Mr. Hong Tse, and the entire committee came to enlighten the locals, with the aims and objects of N.Z.D.A. The National Body of the organization, was fighting bureaucracy on many fronts at the time. The 1080 poison campaign petition was one. The raising of Lake Manapouri was another, and the older perennial fight for access to public, and crown lands was a continuing battle. The meeting was a success, and an interim committee was formed to steer the club towards full Branch status. Russ Mitchell was interim chairman with Andy Gurney, Don Tatham, and John Buchanan. These four enlisted help from many of the members, and held the first rifle target shooting day on 4th December 1960 at Karapoti on Mr. Keith Lindsay’s farm. By the 3rd September 1961 a semi-permanent rifle range had been formed in Whitemans Valley, and the first shoot held on that date. To Claude, Dick and Bro Swanson, the Branch owes a humungous debt, without the generosity of the family the Branch would never have progressed the way it did. Rifle Range shooting became the main activity on the Branch calendar. By 1962 it was felt the time had arrived to form a Branch of N.Z.D.A. So, at a meeting on June 1962 an A.G.M was organized and 39 members attended. Elections were held and a full committee to run the Branch was formed. Don (Spud)Tatham was elected as the first President, with Russ. Mitchell as his Vice President. Keith Morgan as Secretary, Andy Gurney as treasurer. Les Stratford, John Buchanan, Mike Redington and Dave Atkins made up the committee. Membership grew rapidly, and by 1968 had risen to 275. The rifle range had been brought up to Olympic Standards, with the running deer target installed, and the Branch was successful in having the privilege of running the National Shooting competition that year. With Andy Gurney as Range Officer, it was a huge success, with Jack Chapman-Taylor becoming National Shooting Champion for the first time. Over the next few years, the Branch achieved many things. It had organized a competent Search and Rescue team, which had many successes to its credit. Bush craft Courses for beginners were held annually, and the public were invited to take part. Firearm courses were run for all and sundry. The membership fluctuated between 300 and 100 for no apparent reason, with new faces appearing at every meeting. Members came from as far away as Wainuiomata, Petone, Lower Hutt and Wellington, and by the mid 70’s the Upper Hutt locals were outnumbered by those from “down the valley” One of them, Rick Bayliss, serving four successive years as President, quite a record for the Branch. As long as the Branch remembers the main reasons for its existence, which are “TO PROMOTE THE ART OF HUNTING” and “TO PRACTISE SAFE HANDLING OF FIREARMS” the future is very bright. It is very satisfying to the older members when looking back, to mentally count the hundreds and hundreds of young men they have introduced to the hills and valleys of the country, knowing also the safety lessons on bush craft, and rifle handling have been well learnt, with no accidents of any kind, for all those years.

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