International and National Competitions
Although some individuals have competed in overseas competitions previously, New Zealand did not really enter the international field until the Dominion first entered a team in the 1953 international match for the Mackintosh Trophy. This postal match is open to all countries in the British Commonwealth. Participation in this event has given New Zealand shooters a high international standing. After an unsuccessful début in 1953, they won the Mackintosh Trophy in 1954 and held it until 1957 and then registered a further success in 1961. Australia, the present holders, have won this competition on six occasions, England and New Zealand following with five wins. Canada was successful in 1960.
The first official trapshooting team to leave these shores travelled to the 1960 Australian championships held at Surfers Paradise. During this tournament the first Australia v. New Zealand teams match for the T. M. Glenn Cup was held, this first event resulting in an exciting tie, both teams registering 118 targets out of possible 120. This annual event is held in each country in alternate years and to date the score is even, each country having had two wins. Members of the 1960 team were Allan Brown (Lauder), captain; R. G. Brown (Anama); B. G. Begg (Darfield); J. McKenzie (Seaward Downs); J. R. Thomson (Rotorua); and H. C. Walker (Hakataramea). During the 1960 Australian championships, J. McKenzie (Seaward Downs, Southland) one of the best shots New Zealand has produced, brought further honour to his country when he became Australian champion of champions. McKenzie was the reigning New Zealand champion of champions at the time. H. C. Walker won the 1963 Australian champion of champions title. J. L. Thomson took the 1964 Australian Trophy National Championships.
The abolition of live-bird shooting in 1954 saw some of the interest go out of the shotgun-shooting sport, particularly for the older shooters who frowned upon the “clays” as poor substitutes for the “lives”. Prior to the cessation of live-bird shooting, the national championships had to be held in winter months when the birds were more plentiful. From 1955 onwards, when the national championships were restricted to clay-target events, the New Zealand tournament could be held in better weather, with the result that entries in the major events have increased considerably. Record entries for the four main championships have been: single rise (266), double rise (189), skeet (111), and single barrel (224).
Although skeet-shooting competitions began in the 1930s, its popularity has increased considerably since live-bird shooting was abolished. Skeet, which is a Scandinavian word meaning “shoot”, was first introduced about 35 years ago and is the name given to a “gun game for game guns” which was evolved in the United States primarily to enable keen game shots to keep in practice during the off season. Since that time skeet has been modified and improved in various ways and is now a rapidly growing and highly competitive sport in its own right in many countries. During 1961 New Zealand teams shot in the first overseas postal teams match, mainly against United States teams. Although the Dominion's representatives have not yet registered any major success in this annual event, participation in this match has certainly placed this country firmly on the clay-target-shooting map.
Since long-run trophies were first issued in 1955 to shooters registering consecutive breaks of 50, 75, and 100, the numbers of awards have been as follows: 50 – 843; 75 – 355; and 100 – 244.
Trapshooting certainly caters for all ages of sportsmen, as is evident from the number of youths, some still in their early teens, who have achieved considerable success. At the other extreme many successful competitors are definitely in the veteran class. That grand old shooter, the late James Hayes, of New Brighton, made shooting history when, at the Waihora Club on Boxing Day 1960, he celebrated his one hundred and first birthday by breaking a clay target.
by William Houston Stewart, General Secretary, New Zealand Gun Clubs' Association, Dunedin.