How it all Started:
In about 1972, shortly after pistol shooting became legal in NZ, a group of enthusiasts from the Bay of Plenty District got together and formed the Rotorua Pistol Club.
In spite of limitations on what could be done, it was an exciting time, single shot .22 pistols were the only pistols permitted at the start.
A temporary range was started in Sala St Rotorua, but this was not used for long.
Air pistol was shot in our then President Roy Lyme’s workshop with keen members coming from around the Bay of Plenty.
An approach to the NZ Forest Service as it was called at the time, saw the start of outdoor shooting.
This took place at the beginning of Mead Road, only 2kms of where our range is situated now at the Te Wairoa Valley.
It was very temporary, a few months later the club found ourselves allocated a licence for a spot where RPC range is today.
The First Matches:
A lot of work by foundation members went into getting the range set up for the UIT matches, Standard, Centrefire and Free Pistol.
This was done on what is now Range 3 as the facility stands today, but at the time there where no dividing walls.
All these matches were keenly contested at every opportunity by all the then members.
In 1976 the Australian match, Service Pistol, was approved for club shooting in NZ.
It was immensely popular. Club members were allowed to use a holster to carry an unloaded pistol.
The late 70’s and 80’s saw a huge increase in the types of matches being allowed by NZ Pistol Association (as known by then) after being ratified by NZ Police.
The Rotorua Club was at the forefront in shooting Service Pistol Matches and running national events.
Then in the early eighties silhouette shooting became popular.
With the RPC range being just one big range out to 200 meters RPC ended up hosting many national silhouette events over the years.
In 1986 Action Shooting (as it was then known, today as IPSC) became the matches everyone wanted to complete in.
Sid Foot and Ron Milne became the clubs first holster instructors, it was busy times as all members wanted to be part of the exciting new Action shooting matches.
To do this each shooter had to be holster qualified, much the same as it is today.
The early rules for action shooting were a mix of mainly American matches, but as matches developed throughout the world they became known as what we shoot today, NRA, Steel Challenge, IPSC, with the Service Pistol also being altered to allow a loaded and holstered pistol.
With the invent of action shooting came the need for more ranges, Don Perry had joined the club a few years earlier and was determined to see the club have a second range to enable Action Shooting matches to be run at the Club.
Supplying all the concrete blocks and spending all his free time at the range, he levelled an area for the range and first wall to be built, this 50 meters long wall is the same wall that separates range 2 & 3 as it is today.
From that point onward range development never really stopped until the club ended up with 11 Ranges, this enabled the club to run some big matches and it was where most IPSC and Speed Shooting Nationals matches where run up to the late 1990’s.
Over the next decade the club only seemed to only meander along, some disciplines in pistol shooting were dying, silhouette had stopped being shot completely at the club, NRA matches had all but stopped being shot, membership had dropped to below thirty members, the facilities where run down and the club seemed destined to the scrap heap.
In 2006, after a few years sabbatical, Don Perry entered the scene again, changes were immediate.
There was a resurgence in membership, the committee changed with new blood and only a couple of years later a discussion was made by the then committee to host the 2013 Australasian IPSC International Pistol Championships Match, Level IV.
In making this discussion the committee knew that the range facility needed to be rebuild from the ground up.
A minimum of 24 ranges were required, club rooms were needed, new toilets facilities, stats office, kitchen, the existing range buildings needed upgrading, medic room, a workshop building and the 2km road into the Club grounds badly needed upgrading, all this to name a few of the many things that had to be done, in just three odd years.
With a pro-active committee along with the special help from Greg Dickson who had the same desires to see the club achieve a facility second to none, provided the club with all the heavy equipment needed.
RPC not only accomplished everything it set out to do, but ended up with 33 ranges and without doubt the best range facilities in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere.
The Rotorua Pistol Club is flourishing, membership is up, we continue to upgrade our facilities, the club is strong and has a bright future running many national and major events again along with innovative ideas in getting people to shot events and have fun doing it.