Comradery and the ANZAC Spirit

Author: Rachael Ross

Growing up, we’ve all watched movies that told the story of the ANZACs. On the 25th of April each year, we stand in complete silence. You can hear a pin drop. The bugle plays, flags are lowered. We pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice. We hear of the comradery between Australia and New Zealand, strengthened by the atrocities the ANZACs endured together during the Great War.

I didn’t realise that this comradery extended beyond the history books and into our everyday lives. Earlier this month, Alyce Devlin, Tamsyn Henry and myself attended the New Zealand Nationals. From the moment we touched down in Wellington, we were welcomed with open arms. The customs officers joked with us about our ‘funny looking’ rifles, and told us to ‘shoot well, but not too well.’

As we arrived at Palmerston North, (where the NZ Nationals were being held) the view was almost postcard-perfect, with sheep frolicking in the distance as the trees waved in the breeze. We could not have asked for a better environment to compete in. It was a beautiful 24 degrees, and coming from the 40 degree Queensland summer, we were bundled up in our winter jumpers and scarves. Meanwhile, our Kiwi counterparts were in singlets and thongs, complaining about the heat.

To top it all off, the kiwi competitors treated us like we were their own. Coming from electronic targets to paper targets, meant we were not the best at setting up scopes. With no hesitation, they were on the scene and showing us the quickest way to move between positions.

Shot over 3 days, the competition was close. With scores going back and forth across the three events. The conditions for the 3P match were quite favourable; a nice constant breeze with only a few tricky changes. The air rifle range was homely and familiar, the paper targets barely changing the overall shooting experience.
Between these competitions, we dined together and shared stories, made plans for future visits. The only time things got heated, was when the origins of Pavlova was mentioned at the dinner table. I’m sure this discussion will be continued when we meet again.

The important part of these Nationals were not the results or which one of us won, it’s the rediscovered friendship between competitive shooters of our two countries that for many years seemed to be forgotten.

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