The hit movie sequel 'The Hunger Games' featuring an archer that gathers movie-goers worldwide has sparked a huge interest in Archery throughout New Zealand. In Hamilton, Archery Direct, a pro-shop supplying a large selection of bowhunting, bowfishing and kids' archery equipment, sees more interest than ever for the sport.
"It’s finally becoming recognised and validated again," Archery Direct co-founder Greg Roberts said.
Archery Direct was primarily an online Archery Store. But now husband and wife team, Greg & Toni Roberts have taken it to the next level and opened a pro-shop in Hamilton.
"Archery is a sport not easily restricted by disability and fitness," Toni Roberts said. "Students appear to feel high levels of achievement and satisfaction from the sport. It’s mentally challenging, calming and improves patience and focus, it also gets families outside together, we have recently noticed a sudden increase in female archers, youth equipment is selling 239% more than this time last year”
Toni admits “It hasn’t been easy moving from our garage to The Big Red Shed with two young children (3 years and 5 months), we couldn’t have done it without our family and our good friends Steve and Dave have helped us out dramatically, we have just employed Max who is quickly becoming known in the shop.”
Greg’s passion for archery started from the age of nine: like many kids, he made a bow from bamboo, fishing nylon and arrows from bracken. His first real bow was a gift at 11 and after forking a decent amount of money for a compound bow and sending it back and forth to get it shooting right, a new interest in bow tuning developed.
“Friends when hunting started to bug me with their own bow fault’s, having a bow that doesn’t shoot correctly (when hunting) is a form of animal cruelty an incorrectly placed arrow can cause unnecessary suffering”. Greg continues “The satisfaction from correctly tuned equipment is reassuring and the feedback is rewarding”.
Greg said that so far, Archery has been a small market limited by price barriers. "At Archery Direct , we service, tune and source product for our customers at the lowest prices possible without sacrificing the quality".
Greg sees in clients' interest for Archery a search for a more natural way of hunting and being in nature.
"We have customers coming in after hanging up the rifles and wanting to experience a new challenge. People don’t realise the various options available with bows and arrows, fishing, hunting, target, re-enactment. (Then they come here, and) it’s nice to see people getting back to their roots."
Archery Direct offers a whole range of bows from the more traditional looking bows, long bows, recurve bows to the more contemporary compound bows and crossbows.
New Zealand Bow Hunters Society have their 55th annual 3D tournament and prize giving to be held in Paeroa, Queens Birthday Weekend (2-4th June) this year which is open to all archers; applications and information packs can be picked up in store. Last year the tournament hosted about 65 archers this year they are expecting numbers exceeding 100 shooters.