YROA YNOT has gone from strength to strength this year, having recently completed one of the group's most popular programmes to date.
During a weekend in September, eight people took advantage of the ‘Hunting Wairoa' programme, receiving instruction on firearm safety and use, as well as how to hunt and process meat. A highlight was that the group were filmed for a segment on the popular television show, Hunting Aotearoa, while on an expedition at Colin and Margaret Baynes' property.
A major contributor to the programme was the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, which has a national drive to improve firearm safety within Maori communities.
Research that was undertaken in 2005 by Rotorua Police Arms Officers indicated that only around 25 percent of rural Maori in their area who used a firearm had received formal firearms training; the remainder relied on casual training from family and friends. Also approximately 50 percent of rural Maori in the Northern Te Urewera area who possessed a firearm were at that time unlicensed. Last year our Wairoa youth had highlighted their interest in a hunting programme, which is where the Whakatupato programme fitted in.
The first part of the programme took place at Wairoa College, where students were taken through the Arms Code and given the opportunity to sit their firearms test.
From there they headed up to the Baynes' Makapua Station to put theory into practice. They started on the practice range, learning how to sight in a firearm, different field shooting techniques and use of different calibre rifles.
Practice shooting was quickly translated into reality when students headed out into the field to try out their new skills on the local goat population. It wasn't all about shooting, as students also learnt how to set a hinaki (eel trap).
WDC Youth co-ordinator Allison Maru said safety was paramount throughout the programme, which was delivered by NZMSC's Mike Spray.
“He went to considerable lengths to deliver a great hunting programme and to teach our Rangatahi safety with firearms while out hunting. Thanks must also go to all the other volunteers that made this a great weekend for all of us.”