North Island Rep: Trevor Gratton, Hutt Valley Branch
Trevor Gratton was elected onto the board at the 2023 National Conference
Bio from the 75th Annual Conference Handbook:
So where to start? Well, I was born and bred in Lower Hutt and grew up loving the time I spent with family in the bush around Wellington. Possums and rabbits at my uncle’s farm in the Akatarawa valley, fishing out the south Wairarapa coast, and trips over to the Orongorongos. We never know how lucky we are till we look back later in life to those great days. So life got in the way for a number of years, and it wasn’t until my mid-forties, as a small business owner and an insanely proud dad to Riley and Eli that I found myself divorced with a young family and looking for a new challenge and a way to recapture those great memories and pass them on to my children. So it was that I discovered by shear chance, the Hutt Valley branch of NZDA and their Hunter Training Course. That was back in 2019, in those carefree days before COVID. I joined the branch and did the course. I’m not prone to hyperbole but the 8 or so weeks I spent on that course were some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The passion that the instructors showed, for our sport, our natural environment, and all the positive aspects that our organization has to offer was truly life changing for me. It allowed me to put a difficult time in my life behind me and look into the future with a new positive outlook.
So after joining the branch in 2019 I put my hand up for the committee in 2020, which in turn led to me becoming branch president in 2021. The Hutt Valley branch had been well served by passionate stewards for many many years, but the opportunity of a new, fresh committee and executive team was a challenge I was keen to tackle. New to deerstalking but passionate about what we had to offer both as a branch and as an organization.
Over the last two years as president, it’s been a privilege to be part of a team that shares that same passion for our sport. Our numbers are growing, our members are enthusiastic. It’s a challenging time with many regulatory hurdles to conqueror. But these challenges have created new opportunities at our branch. Our Range Use Induction (RUI) Briefings are a recent initiative allowing us to meet and talk to new members, understand what motivated them to join and how best we (as a branch) can help them maximise their membership in our branch. Regular workshops at the Kaitoke Range Complex have allowed us to help our members upskill and gain increased value for their membership, and work in with a broader programme of club hunts, social events, competitive shoots and HUNTS training, to provide a wide range of activities for our members. Our branch project last year to re-engage and re-join with the national NZDA HUNTS programme was a success that I’m particularly proud of. Coming together with the national HUNTS team, along with the other active and enthusiastic branches we have in the lower North Island illustrated to me the huge untapped well spring of knowledge and passion that we share as an organization.
The opportunity to stand as a North Island representative, to work with branches as we navigate the transition to registered ranges and licensed ‘shooting’ clubs along with taking the opportunity for branches to communicate better with each other at a local and regional level. To share each other’s successes and learn from our failures is a challenge I’m keen to undertake. I could go on and on with corporate speak platitudes and catchy phrases, but as individuals and particularly as hunters we’ve all experienced those great moments, sitting on the side of a ridge, alone, with a mate, with our kids, glassing a mob of deer across the valley, and then taken a minute to look around and marvel at the magnificent gift we’ve been given to be able to head out onto public land and do what we love. That’s the goal, the job. To let as many people as possible experience that gift.