Ian was a great guy
I met him at one of the Wellington Acclimatisation Society branch meetings around 1966. He and Dawn lived at Pauatahanui on a few acres – right next to Dawn’s brother’s farm of close to 400 acres.
In 1969 we decided to establish a pheasant breeding and shooting club – called THE WILLOWGLEN GAME IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION. It was a 10 person syndicate and in no time at all we built – an incubator room, a brooder room, two hardening-off aviaries and then a 10,000sq ft aviary where the birds learnt to become wild and how to feed from purpose built aviaries.
We had a breeding permit from the Acc Soc, but were not allowed to shoot hen pheasants – but we could kill them by other means! So, the syndicate took-over the WGTN ACC SOC COUNCIL– in a very short space of time! I represented DU for 15-years, syndicate member Don McCulloch soon became President – retiring from the Council 26-years later! Two other syndicate members – Paul Pirani and Peter McLeod were also on the Council for many years. And in a very short time we were allowed to hunt hen pheasants.
The average number of pheasants reared for release was between 350 and 400 each season. We released them on the 40-acres and had to hunt them every weekend. In no time at all the whole of Pauatahanui was full of pheasants!
Sadly it all came to an end in 1974 when Ian and Dawn sold up and moved to Hamilton with Ian’s job. 1974 was also the year DU was founded – at a meeting held in Stratford; with Jack Worth, Trevor Voss, Ian, Paul and me. We went very quickly from no members to 100’s.
For many years our middle of the year DU Board meeting was held at the Pritt Ranch at Ohakune – on the second weekend of the duck season!
Bill Pritt was also a legend and one who created between 40 and 50 wetlands in the Ohakune/Raetihi area, with great encouragement from Audrey and Di. Bill was also a great duck hunter who took the “DU TEAM” to all the best spots.