Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 34, September 1990

The Waihi Gun Club is one of the oldest in the country, although it has gone into recess several times along the way. The Club celebrated its 80th Anniversary shoot in October 1989.

Researchers, working on the Waihi Borough Council book to mark the passing of the 87 year old Borough Council, came across some intriguing little mysteries including the "Waihi Rooster".

It was a trophy contested for (and still is) by riflemen in the North Island. It originated in Waihi in 1902 - the year of the establishmentofthe first Waihi Borough Council. At that time the great rifle shot, the late Jim Parslow, was staying temporarily in Waihi and formed a rifle club to foster rifle shooting among the miners. It was he who arranged with Major Cox of the Victoria Rifles to send a team to Waihi to encourage shooting in the district.

A match was arranged and naturally resulted in a win for the crack "Vics", but no trophy was forthcoming. So, in the evening some of the younger members of the Victorian Rifles climbed the tower of the fire station and removed the cock on the weather vane and brought it back to Auckland in great triumph as the winner's trophy. Many efforts were made, both by the Military and Civil Authorities, to recover the cock but it remained in hiding until a notice appeared some months later in a Waihi paper saying that the cock would be returned to the town if a team could win it back.

Many efforts have been made by Waihi teams to win the Rooster back but without success. It has now become an annual contest at the Auckland Rifle Association meeting and is competed for by teams who travel from all parts of the Island and, in all, much money has been spent in trying to win it. Occasionally it has travelled out of Auckland but seldom for long, and both the Akarana and Auckland City Clubs have had a mortgage on the Rooster.

For eight years, from 1928 to 1935, the Auckland City Club had a great run of success, losing the rooster only once in 1930 to Paeroa Rifle Club led by H Simmonds who, the following year, joined the Auckland City Club. Kaitaia was the only other club outside of Auckland to have won the Rooster on two occasions.

The Waihi Rooster has no cash value but it is the most valued shooting trophy for team matches in the Auckland Province. It is not even made of Waihi gold but it is simply a piece of 24 gauge sheet iron, cut with skill to the shape of a rooster, and painted in bright colours to resemble the game cock. It is worth exactly nothing as scrap metal, but is so highly valued by the Auckland Rifle Association that other trophies fade into insignificance when compared with it.

Recently another shooting trophy was brought back to Waihi by the son of the man who won it at a New Zealand National shoot in Waihi in 1912. Mr Cecil King of Mt Maunganui is now the owner of a 22 carat gold watch which his father, Ernest King, who was three times a New Zealand shooting champion, won in 1912.

At that time the watch and chain was valued at a meagre £20 ($40), but today would be worth much more and is a family treasure. Cecil inherited the watch from his father and brought it back to show the shooters at the Waihi Club's 80th Anniversary Shoot.