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Club History

A remarkable story

Hutt Valley Clay Target Club is amongst the longest established Gun Clubs in New Zealand and by far, the oldest in the Wellington Province. It is a remarkable story. The Club has survived three changes of shooting grounds, two world wars, and a depression, and weathered just about everything a voluntary Club can.

The Club came into existence on Saturday, 21st February 1903 at 8.00 pm, when twelve men under the Chairmanship of Mr G. Cudby, met at Caseys Hotel in Lower Hutt. A few days later in the Evening Post for Saturday, 28th February 1903, the following appeared:

The formation of the Hutt Valley Gun Club should be welcomed both at the Hutt and in the city. Mr Adnams will make an energetic Secretary, and the club, which has made a satisfactory start, is likely to be a success.

One outcome should be the arranging of regular matches between the new club and the Wellington Gun Club.

This proved the understatement of the year. Before the year was out a further 68 members were added, making 80 members in the first year of operation. Over the years, some 1500 members have now enjoyed the Club. Amongst these are one Governor General, one Prime Minister, three Cabinet Ministers, and members of many prominent Wellington families.

The Club ran its inaugural Open Shoot on Wednesday, 18th March 1903 at the Showgrounds, Petone. This site eventually became the home of General Motors.

A history of innovation

During its long history, the Club has hosted just about every clay target event possible from the 1940 New Zealand Centennial matches to the 1991 National Sporting championships. The Club is also credited with much pioneering in trap shooting. It was the first in 1934 to lay the five-track, straight shooting system in New Zealand and install electric Skeet traps, again a national first.

In 1962, the Club may well have started an international trend. Clay targets until then were universally black that sometimes resulted in sighting problems against certain backgrounds. After much experimentation, the Club came up with orange coloured targets and the first batch were hand painted with an oil-based pigment.

These proved an immediate success and their popularity quickly spread both locally and overseas. Orange is now the standard international colour for clay targets.

Other initiatives were the inauguration of the Wellington District Championships in 1985; a Sporting Clays handicapping system in 1987; the concept of Top Gun in 1988; and in 1990, the fostering of youth shooting. This ultimately led to the Club holding the Schools National Shooting Championships in 1991 and 1993. Indeed, so successful did these Championships become that they were taken over by the New Zealand Clay Target Association and now form an integral part of the National shooting calendar.

The best place to enjoy the sport of clay target shooting. Big enough for superior facilities. Small enough for good fellowship.