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Maureen Coleman has enjoyed witnessing youngsters grow into hunters during her 25 years with TVDA. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Maureen hits 25-year target

Introducing youngsters to the thrill of the bush has been one of many highlights for Maureen Coleman at the Thames Valley Deerstalkers Association (TVDA).
The current president was recently awarded a life membership after more than 25 years with the organisation, which has around 550 members.
She told The Profile her involvement with the TVDA survival camps had been a good shot.
“They’ve been really cool, we go to a property up in Maratoto and there’s cooking over the fire, tenting, they swim in the river, they do possum lines, a conservation project and they do a bit of shooting, basic first aid and navigation,” she said.
“It’s about those little things which make up the big picture down the track and that’s certainly been a highlight.”
Maureen said she had also enjoyed seeing people hunt for the first time as a hunting instructor.
“We’ve got a young guy here who’s a quadriplegic and he did the hunting course. To take him out hunting and help him get an animal and shoot with the gear that he’s got, which is all mouth operated, it’s all inspiring,” she said.
“Those are the things you can’t put a price on, it’s just people finding their niche and coming back with a smile on their face.
“My four granddaughters also just love it, I get nagged every week to take them hunting so yeah it’s lovely being out there with them, they enjoy hunting.”
Maureen said a role within an organisation like the TVDA was something she always scoped, despite never bush hunting during her King Country childhood.
“We did go possum shooting a lot when we were kids because that was our pocket money, and shot goats for dog food with the neighbours, but had never been in the bush in my life until I started here,” she said.
“I got the chance to go for a hunt in the Kaimais [in 1990] and it was wet, horrible, heard and saw nothing, but just loved it.
“So I came home, went to Hamilton the next night and bought a decent pair of boots, a rifle and a day bag and joined up here at the same time, and the rest is history.”
Maureen said the 25-year honour was “very humbling” and was a celebration of her family and members dedication to the TVDA. “I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without the backing of the other branch members and my family, it’s about the whole community we have here really.
“There’s probably a lot of people who don’t realise what I do. I seem to be the person who unlocks the door and takes home the washing at the end of the night, and I guess I’ve been more involved in all facets,” she said.
“I’ve done the [TVDA] newsletter for a number of years and I’m a New Zealand Clay Target Association [NZCTA] and New Zealand Deerstalkers Association [NZDA] range officer but I’m not a competition target shooter, I tell people you’ve just gotta have a go.”
Maureen said she would continue aiming high in the years to come.
“It would take something pretty serious to keep me out of the hills,” she said.