‘Looking back’ at the history of the NZAHAA Inc
compiled by Graeme Barber
Originally named the New Zealand Antique Arms Association Inc its name was changed in 2005 to recognise the the importance of preserving all arms and militaria history to the New Zealand Antique and Historical Arms Association Inc.
The early Days
From the ‘First 10 Years’ publication by Les C G Perham 1969
The forming of the Antique Arms Association was prompted by several factors.
Ten years after the war, with the collecting of antiques booming throughout the world, it was evident that New Zealand would follow suit in this field. Although many private collections of arms were well established before the Association came into being, the few who had these arms were constantly in fear of the strict arms law of that time.
A display of arms was held in the old Manning Brewery building, Ferry Road, Christchurch, during the 1958 Industries Fair. This had been organised by the Canterbury Public Relation Officer, Mr Ted Beckett. The arms were drawn from the police, museums, and to a greater extent, private collections. A register of names was kept for anyone who was interested and from this the nucleus of the association was formed.
In September, 1959, the inaugural meeting was held, with seventeen people attending, during which foundation rules for the Association were instituted. The keen interest shown was reflected in the fact that one man had travelled from a far afield as Dunedin and, subsequently, was elected to the Committee on which he still sits.
Since this date and with the guidance of a strong, active committee, we have had the Arms Act changed on two occasions to suit the need of our members. No longer is it necessary to hide priceless antique pistols and revoIvers in secret compartments or on tops of wardrobes. What is even more important is the cessation of the destruction of the arms by the police.
Each year an annual general meeting is held. This includes a grand auction where member may sell their surplus arms, and an annual shoot where the cream of the weapons is to be seen.
It is interesting at this point to note that the first Graham King trophy shoot our premier award was won with only two hit being registered on the 18in disc. Today an endurance test usually finishes on the 6in disc.
Much of our increased membership has been due to the various newspaper and television articles on our activities.
District secretaries have been appointed in all major cities and they have functioned extremely well, with local shoots and meetings being held in most areas.
From the ‘NZ Cavalcade of Antique Arms‘ publication Looking Back by Robin Rapley – 1979
How would you like a flintlock Musket for $4.50? It’s in need of a bit of restoration, but it is all there. No? Well, about an Indian matchlock, a bargain at $6? And if you want a more recent military piece to balance your collection, how about a three bander Enfield muzzle loader? You’ll have to pay big money for that of course – $16.50
If you are really affluent, maybe you’d go to $73 for a Henry in full working order. That’s the top price gun in the sale.
No, this is not an extract from ‘Fantasy Island’, but a few items from the first auction of NZAAA held on November 19, 1960. Even taking into account the high rate of inflation in recent years, these prices are ridiculously low.
The Canterbury Museum contributed many of the items offered, and put a reserve of $2 on all items, including the flintlock and Enfield.
There were 44 items on that historical occasion, three of them late entries. Some that did not reach their reserves like a midshipman’s dirk with a reserve $17, and a breast plate with a reserve of $4 were passed in.
HISTORY of NZAAA AUCKLAND BRANCH by John Carter
The New Zealand Antique Arms Association was first started in Christchurch in 1959, see commemorative booklet “The First Ten Years 1959-1969” and also the Twentieth Anniversary Publication “New Zealand Cavalcade of Antique Arms 1959-1979” I met Les Perham in 1960 when on leave in ChCh, as I had just recently bought a .36 Colt Navy whilst in England with the Royal NZ Navy. He said I should join the NZAAA and gave me an application form; I was posted overseas soon after and never completed the form.
I first became aware of a group of collectors in Auckland after attending a Field Day out at Clevedon, where apart from archery, shotgun shooting, fly casting etc was a large Marquee full of antique weapons, and the stall was manned by Ed Smith. After some conversation he invited me along to the next monthly meeting. Now I can’t recall the date but the meeting was held in the Vintage Car Club Hall, Penrose. The meetings were casual, no subscription, no minutes and members just gathered to show off their collections and talk about their hobby. I think Ed Smith was the organiser but not sure.(They had been meeting long before I discovered them)
At one meeting in or around 1969-70 something? I remember it was suggested that we should formally form an Auckland Branch, it was decided there and then to appoint a president, secretary etc. (results as I remember them)
President Brian Cameron Social Committee Roger Reading
Secretary Marsden Robinson (branch Rep) Social Committee John Carter
Committee Ray Carvell Range Officer Neil Amos
Committee Doug Dykzeul Range Officer Gavin Bennett
Committee Noel Pollard Range Officer Tony Bond
Auckland Members of the NZAAA 1972-73 (from the official membership booklet)
N. Amos, K. Anderson, W.M. Angus, D.J. Annadale, N.W. Barton, G.C. Bennett, A. Bond, B.J. Cameron, J.L. Carter, R.J. Carvell, F.G.M. Clark, D. Cohen, A.C. Coleman, G.Collins
R.R. Colliver, A.B. Coughey, G.R. Dreadon, D. Dykzeul, C.J. Egan, C.G. Eglinton,
P.B. Falconer, O.G. Fryer, F.A. Gronwall, R.F. Hart, T.A. Holdsworth, T.H. Hughes,
T.L. Joyce, G.S. King, J.R. Lee, L.M. Lennard, C.D. Lin-Mitchell, D.L. McCann,
V.A. McDonald, I.S. McIntyre, E D.A. Malatios, E.P. Marshall, J.E. Millar, R. Montgomery,
D.C. Murray, J.A. Newsham, I.N. Otto, H.J. Piggott, A. C. H. Poll, N.C. Pollard, R.W. Pulman,
R.J. Reading, B.A. Redwood, M.B. Robinson, N.F. Roderick, I.R. Ross, K. Rusden, T.P. Ryan,
J.L. Sadler, C.J. Sandbrook, D.J. Scott, D.R. Scott, F.K. Sleeman, E.J. Smith, D.A. Taylor,
G.J. Taylor, P. Thompson, A.S. Trethewey, H.P. Van EEden, B. Webber, D.L. Wright.
J.N. Agnew, R.J. Armstrong, N.W. Barnard, R.McK Bleakley, W.N. Ferris, I.A. Johnson,
J.C. Neary, B. O’Carroll, G.P. Oldham, P. Paton, M.A. Powell, B.C. Revell, D.R. Rose,
A.B. Theaker, W.D. Waugh.
To join any Branch you had to be 21 yrs old, attend 3 meetings before being admitted. The Auckland Branch over the years proposed changes to the rules which had to be voted on at an AGM (in Christchurch). Amongst those we proposed lowering the age to 15, and the admitting of females! Later I proposed, and Simon West seconded a change to the organisation by doing away with the 15man committee (all from Canterbury) and replacing it with just a President, Secretary and one representative from each of the 12 branches. As it exists today.
It took some convincing but we got there in the end.
Hawkes Bay Branch
40th Anniversary Supplementary Edition
History of Hawkes Bay Antique & Historical Arms Assoc.Inc.
Founded 25th September 1979.
Some facts/snippets of our branch, these were taken from the minutes and historical data held in our archives storage files.
The Inaugural Meeting of the HB Antique Arms Ass., was held at 9B Bowling Rd Greenmeadows on 25th September 1979 at 8pm.
Present were: B Northe, B McLeary, A McGarva, P.Frazer, B.Waugh, O.Hulena, B Meech, K.Naylor.
Apologies: Williams, M.Amner, J.Osborne, D.Stuart, J.Travis, J.Holder.
Some of those names are still with us today!
The late Barrie Northe was instrumental in the formation of the Branch, a letter was received from the National Secretary advising him to form a group, select a secretary, and a chairman etc so he wrote to the Police to inform them that he intended to form a HB branch of the New Zealand Antique Arms Ass. Issuing them with a list of intending members.
The first committee was made up of the following members,
Chairman: Brian McLeary.
Secretary/Treasurer: Barrie Northe, . (Until John Holder was granted membership of the National Association)
Committee Members: Barrie Northe, Allan McGarva, Bruce Waugh.
Subscriptions were set at $2.00 and the joining fee was set at $3.00 being a total of $5.00
Permission was given to the Secretary to open a cheque account at the Bank of New South Wales (West Pac) and we still have that account 40 years later!
The next Bi-Monthly meeting was held on 27th November at Brian McLearys home. Those early days the meetings were bi-monthly.
First Guest Speaker:
The first guest speaker was Don Stuart telling of an interesting trip he and John Travis did to Raratonga on the “lookout for WW2 firearms’, they interviewed many collectors there including Dr. Tom Davies the Premier of the Cook Islands. Not sure what the outcome of that trip was!
First Gunshow proposal:
The first Gun Show was proposed at this meeting and was to take place in the New Year.
First Public firearms display:
The Branch combined with Firearms Safety/NZ Army was involved in its first public display at the ‘”Firearms Safety 80” event held at Roy’s Hill rifle range in March 1980 hosted by the NZ Army, the army provided tents and marquees for display purposes, the branch did static displays while the Army put on a display of “firepower” to the general public.
The displays were well received and the branch was asked to do a display at the October A&P Show. Along with Mountain Safety Council & Firearms safety 80.
First Branch Gunshow:
The First Branch Gunshow was held in the Army Drill Hall Coote Rd on the 15th November 1980. And held .annually from then on.
First Black Powder Shoot:
The first Black Powder shoot involving the branch held at Roy’s Hill rifle range on 28th December 1980.
January 1981 there were 7 members on the committee.an increase from the original 3.
First Public Napier Gunshow:
The “Founders Room “at the HB Museum was booked for the May 1981 school holidays it cost $40 per day, the purpose was to have a “Public Relations exercise” of firearms by doing a display of firearms for the general public, among the displays were machine guns, sub- machine guns, early brass Winchesters, pistols, handguns and swords, bayonets, etc. the first time many of the public were aware of what collectors possessed. It ran for two days and was a huge success. Several new members applied to join the branch from that public encounter.
August 1981 saw the branch put in its first submission on the proposed new Arms Act.
April 1982 saw Branch Meetings move to Monthly meetings.
Branch moved to its new “Club Rooms “in the old Woolen Mills on Main St. Ahuriri in November 1982, a new bar was built, the bar top was donated by Mr. Pat Magill, walls had to be lined, air pistol range set up, seats, couches, chairs were bought or donated all done with “working bees” The working bees were held for many weekends till completed.
The National Assc. was advised that HB Branch was ready to hold a NZAAA AGM/ Auction, things were really on the move!
First Hastings Public Gunshow:
The first Hastings Public Gunshow held in St Johns Hall Southland Rd in January 1983, admission was $1.00 and 50c for kids, a glass cased cabinet was bought for displaying handguns, and we made the princely sum of $212.00
1983 The Subs were set at $10.00.
The guard changed in 1983 to the following:
President: Don Stuart.
Secretary/Treasurer: Fritz Vink.
Committee consisted of 7 members.
March 1983 saw the Branch meeting night changed to the last Monday of the month. And it remains that to this day!
An excerpt from the committee meeting of 17th March 1983 Branch tendered on the following from the Govt. Stores Board Tender,3 x Bofors @ $75.00 each,3 x Barrel Assemblies for Bofors @ $75.00 each. The Stores Board had 46 Bofors, 48 Barrel assemblies, 196 Oerlikon 20mm Mk11, Those were the days!
During early 1984 the Arms Museum was set up by members Brian McLeary, Fritz Vink, Barrie Northe and Don Stuart, the clubs bar was made into a “Western Style” theme to blend in with the arms museum, all forms of firearms and accouterments were donated/loaned to museum for public display, a charge was made to enter, the cost for which was used for upkeep etc.
January AGM 1985:
Here are some excerpts from that meeting.
The late Alan Walker was elected Secretary/ Treasurer and he held that position till he passed away in 2018 some 34 years. He was the longest standing Branch Secretary in the NZAHAA.
The Branch committee numbered 10 members and the President was Don Stuart.
Membership stood at 36 members.
Subs were still $10.00.
Bar Prices went up 100% without a murmur.
Late payers of subs were told in strong terms “to pay up “or else.
Guest speakers needed to be found to “keep meetings interesting”
Hot water machine proposed so members can have coffee/tea.
First Club Raffle:
First Club Raffle was held, won by Mark Prenter and the prize was a box of shotgun ammo. We still have a monthly raffle to this day.
An air Pistol was purchased for members to use at branch meetings.
Hot water machine purchased, mugs, tea, coffee, sugar, milk bickies etc. were available to members at meetings. It proved very popular especially in the winter months. A charge of 20c a cup of tea/coffee, biscuits to offset the costs etc. Supper consisting of cheerios, cakes etc were available at meetings also for a charge of 20c. Those were the days!
Stacker chairs were also bought to replace the old couches and settees.
A Visitor’s book was bought and all guest required to sign it.
According to the record book there were many visitors coming along to meetings.
First Mickey Mouse Auction:
The club held its first Mickey Mouse auction on 29th July 1985.here are some excerpts from it.
79 lots were offered.11 being passed in! $780.00 was taken! There were 12 vendors and 27 buyers! The auctioneer was Dick Marks and the helpers were Alan Ives and Alan Walker. The meeting closed that night at 11.30pm.
A member’s book was first introduced for members to sign in at each meeting.in those days around 50 members and guests attended meetings.
This meeting is recognized as the first time a Mickey Mouse Auction was run as it is the last meeting of the year, we still have the Mickey Mouse auction in November to this day!
The Branch held their AGM in January in those early days.
President: Bruce Waugh.
Secretary/Treasurer: Alan Walker.
Vice Presidents: Don Stuart & Alan Ives.
The committee consisted of 7 members. J.Holder, R.Back, T.Mathews, M.Gugich E.Johnson.A Ives.D.Marks.
Some of those names remain with the branch today.
Some excerpts from that AGM were that there be no gunshow held in 1986. The Branch club rooms were deemed “too small “for our membership, were asked to vacate the Arms Museum as they were wanting to expand! ID badges were to be worn at all meetings! (A fine was instigated but dropped due to being unpopular)
Raffles were held now and again in the early days.
The first permanent branch raffle was held organized by R.Back, the prize was a $10.00 note, and the winner was R.Back! It was held February 1985.
A great deal of discussion around suitable venues for club meets took place including holding them at Taradale RSA, and Marinland Street, Rod and custom car club building.
New Club Rooms.
The Branch moved to its new meeting venue at the Marinland Street Rod and custom Car Club building in April 1986.
The June Meeting had a guest speaker Mr Michael Voisey a senior inspector with the Customs Department discussing the ramifications with the introduction of GST by the Govt. and the effect it will have on members who wish to import items for their collections.
September meeting saw the branch move into the sale of ammunition to members at discounted prices due to bulk buying,
The branch hosted the National AGM and auction.
May meeting saw a demonstration of hand loading done by Eric Johnson and Rod Clayton who with several reloading press’s demonstrated the correct way to hand loading of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition. They explained in great detail the many facets of powders, faults and problems encountered with hand loading. This lasted for two and half hours.
In 1987 the branch sold more than 34000 rounds of ammunition to members at hugely discounted prices.
Branch Represented in 1988 was Robin Back. The main discussion was around the declining membership of the NZAAA and its future! Fact finding subcommittee was set up to investigate ways and means of promoting the association.
After many branch “newsletters” over the years the format of them was changed The Magpie was born, in those days the editor was John Holder and Bob Anderson was his “man Friday”, it had a small editorial committee to make it work. The Magpie was first printed in a “booklet “style for a number of years, it was printed in “Black & White. John used a typewriter back in those days so it was big task and took a lot of time and effort, however John was very keen, a few helpers would turn up at his house when it was printed and help him fold and staple the booklet ready for sending out to members. Norman & Lyn Hutchinson were editors in 1999. A new editor was appointed, Murray Bain, who was instrumental in the Magpie having color pictures/photos. This proved to be popular with the members for a couple of years, but due to the high cost of printing, (costs of colour print was catching up with what we were taking in in subscriptions for the year so the colour option was abandoned in late 2007, also the format changed to A4. Other editors have been Norm Rogers. Robin Back/Alan Walker appointed editors in 2008.
Some Highlights of the 1990’s.
At beginning of the 90’s our branch membership stood at 67 members.
President: Robin Back
Vice Presidents: David Jackson/Bob Anderson.
Secretary: Alan Walker
Committee consisted of 8 members.
National Fire Arms Symposium. 1990.
The Branch was heavily involved in the National Firearms Symposium at the start of the 90’s,
The Govt. banned the importation of SLR’s.
Customs banned the importation of certain types of Fighting knives, bayonets and edge weapons.
Moves to have the ban revoked came from all quarters of NZ.
Our Branch brought out its own Rule Book. It moved along the lines of the National Assc. Rules.
Hastings Gun show, St Johns Hall Labour Weekend October 1991.
Aramoana Shootings. 1992. Branch heavily involved in “discussions “with NZAHAA / etc. with the retention of MSSA’s. The Ë” endorsement was a result of these discussions with Police/Govt.!
1993 Mid-Year AGM/Auction: Hosted by HB Branch in April.
We held another in 1998.
February 1997 our secretary was bought a “wait for it’—-A Fax Machine. It cost the branch $635.38 we were finally “moving into the electronic age”? Our secretary was still using a typewriter though! (He had to give that up around 2010 when he couldn’t buy/source typewriter ribbons!!)
1999. The Branch changed its “Financial Year “to that of the National Assocc. From March 30th to 1st January to December 31st.
The Branch turned 21 years old on 25th September 2000.
The February 2000 meeting was the last meeting held at the Marineland Car Club premises, we had to move after 15 years. Remember those real rainy windy nights when the rain was belting down on the roof one could hardly hear each other talking!
The first meeting to be held in our present clubrooms The Clive Rugby Club was on April 2000 and we have been there since.
From 2000 on!
Some Branch snippets of events etc.
We lost our shooting facilities at The Deerstalkers range (the very popular “Running Boar “range was sad to lose that) as well as the Army range at Roy’s Hill due to their closer. Most land sold for grape growing in the area.
We moved our shooting activities to the Phoenix Pistol Club Range at Tait Rd Bay View. Around 2008, lasting there till 2018 when we shifted to Roy’s Hill river Range where we presently shoot.
2003/4 seen us have a change of name, well really only we had the word “Historical “added to our name, along with the National Association.
July 2004 seen two members of our branch receive the Perham Medallion consecutively Robin Back and Paul Shoebridge. The awards were presented by National Vice-President Ted Rodgers.
July 2015: One of our Founding members Brian McLeary Passed away.
June 2018: Long standing Secretary Alan Walker passed away after 34 years in the saddle.
Branch Presidents over the years. Secretaries over the years.
Brian McLeary: 1979. /1983.
Don Stuart: 1984. /1986/2009/12.
John Holder: 1979/1984
Bruce Waugh: 1987/ 1988 Fritz Vink.1984/1985
Alan Ives: 1988/1991. Alan Walker: 1985/2018
Robin Back: 1991/ 1992. Robin Back: 2018/ present.
David Jackson: 1992/1993
Bill Mott: 1993/1994.
Ron Day 1994/1995.
Paul Shoebridge: 1996/1999
Norm Rodgers: 2001/2003. Died in Office.
Toney Plummer: 2003/2006 Died in Office.
Colin Cardie: 2006/2009.
Brent Horton: 2012/2016
Mike Cato: 2016
Top Pic. Branch members at the Roy’s Hill range Field Day as part of Firearms symposium, 1990.
Mid. Pic. Winning Postal Shoot Team 1990.
Past Secretary Late John Holder sits with his Bagpipes recovered from the battleground of WW1.
First Issue of the Magpie March 1988.
It was in booklet form.
Top Pic.2015 Branch Trophy Winners
Bottom Pic. 1994 Branch Shooting Trophy Winners