Archery takes on a modern face
Mana Archery Club is bringing an ancient sport firmly into the 21st century.
iPads have replaced pen and paper for scoring at club shoots, results are shared on open source software and members communicate via a popular Facebook page.
This modern approach to bows and arrows is tied up with a growing interest in the sport among young people, club secretary Keila Bowling says. The 2008 Olympics attracted new interest to the sport, and the club now counts 53 in its ranks, out of a total 400 archers in clubs nationwide.
The club is hoping to attract more members by hosting ‘‘ have-a-go’’ days over the summer and touring schools looking for interested young archers.
Mana got to show off its mettle, as well as its gadgets recently when it hosted 22 archers from clubs around the region, as far afield as Manawatu, for a meet at Plimmerton Domain. Nine Mana archers joined the out-of-towners in the ‘‘Novice 600’’, named because archers aim for at least 600 out of a possible 900 points.
The meet was not a competition in the traditional sense, as archers compete against their own personal best rather than against each other. Targets ranged from 122 centimetre diameter to a tricky 40cm, and everybody shot at their own level.
‘‘That allows more people to say ‘ we got 600, that’s an achievement’,’’ Mr Bowling says.
Five Mana archers got their 600, which earns them a ribbon, or a badge if it is their first 600. Three Mana archers who did not get a ribbon were shooting at a 40cm target, which is a real physical challenge, he says.
‘‘It’s quite a bit of a stretch to move to the next target.’’
Craig MacRae scored 815 with a recurve bow on an 80cm target, Mana’s top 80cm score of the day. He has been shooting for 10 years and trains twice a week, not as dedicated as some members, he says, who shoot daily.
The sunshine and calm of the day were a reminder that despite Mana’s technology and gadgets, shoots are all about sociability and invigorating exercise outdoors.
‘‘It’s all about enjoying the day,’’ Mr Bowling says. ‘‘It’s about having fun.’’
Old and new: Mana Archery Club is keeping target archery modern with gadgets, computer technology, and an injection of young archers. From left, Steve Hopkins, Michelle Andrews, Stacey Williams, Craig MacRae.