The Taupō Branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association was established on 20th May 1957 with its first General Meeting on the 10th June 1957 in the Māori Mission Hall, where St. John’s Ambulance are now located. The .22 Range was amongst the pine trees and scrub in the area that is now Fletchers Mill.
Eventually, permission was given from the Manager of Tauhara Lands and Survey to build a Centrefire Range on survey land behind where the refuse station is now. A running deer target facility was created with old telephones for communication from the mound to the butts. Unfortunately, on the very first shoot the wire which carried the deer target was shot, cutting it in half, which bought the shoot to a sudden halt.
Our current Range took some time to find, initially a gully behind the Spa Hotel was offered and many hours were spent cutting and clearing dense blackberry and scrub to form a suitable shooting area. However, before this was completed, an opportunity to acquire a much better location became available on Mountain Road below Mount Tauhara. This has been the home of our club ever since.
In 1965 a meeting with the Māori owners was held and an agreement in principle was reached to lease the land. In 1966 work began on re-aligning the range boundaries. In 1967 a meeting was held to see if lease monies could be deducted from the purchase price and the possibility of free holding the land. The block was re-surveyed in January 1968 to determine more accurate boundaries. In April 1971, ownership papers for the land were finally received and deposited with the Branch solicitors for safe keeping.
Since October 1971, many major projects have been undertaken to clear and develop the range further. The 100m and running boar ranges were established in the early seventies and they are still in use today. Work on the range is ongoing to keep it pristine and certified. We’d like to express our thanks to those founding members, our current members, and all others who over the years have all helped to make this branch what it is today.
50th Anniversary Book Fundraiser
A Taupō Deerstalkers’ 5oth Anniversary Book was published in 2007. It tells a fascinating story and is full of photos, and it was compiled and edited by Eileen Comber in association with Dave Comber, Bob Neckelson, Vern Pearson, Trevor Chapell, Curly Elminger, Alex Gale and Mark Poots. To help us with the cost for restoring and digitalising our Club’s historical records, you can purchase a copy of this wonderful 50th Anniversary Book now for $25 (postage included). Contact us today!