RIP - John Hastie
It with great regret and sorrow that we announce the death of John Hastie who passed away suddenly at Wellington hospital on Monday 4th October. John was 83 and a Life Member of NRANZ.
John was lovingly referred to as “H”, one of the famed H&H duo responsible for many target shooting innovations including the H&H Millennium actions and rifles used so successfully in New Zealand and indeed around the world.
John was born in Hastings and was brought up on a local sheep station where he had to shoot rabbits for food and his dad challenged him to hit them in the eye so as to not spoil the meat. His dad was a long time shooter in the Hawkes Bay, was a good shot as well and indeed was shooting on the range at the exact time of Johns birth - so shooting really was in the blood! John started long range target shooting for Okawa Rifle Club in 1966 and was quickly recognised as a talent, particularly by Commonwealth Games Gold medalist Morrie Gordon, his early mentor. He went on to represent New Zealand on many occasions, most notably the Commonwealth Games, as a competitor at Edmonton 1978 and Brisbane in1982 and was also the shooting team manager at Auckland 1990 and Victoria Canada in 1994.
John was a member of many NZ World Long Range Championship (Palma) teams, firstly at Camp Perry USA in 1976 as a shooter and finally 31 years later at Ottawa Canada, as the gunsmith. In between these two events he was either a shooter, coach or gunsmith in many NZ teams and Palma teams and took extreme pride in having built the rifles, along with his good mate Tony Halberg, that the entire NZ team used - to win the 1999 world championship Bronze medal at Bloemfontein South Africa.
The New Zealand championship was his in 1982 when he won the coveted Ballinger Belt at Trentham.
Always the innovator and craftsman, he was a pilot, an engineer of extraordinary skills, a mentor to many, always helpful, overly generous, tireless - if he was doing something for others, passionate for target shooting, and a good friend to so many. Many target shooters the world over have benefited from his selflessness and dedication to his chosen sport where he had a passion for helping others improve. He was awarded huge respect by all who knew him, both as a shooter, a gunsmith and as a person, but was always very modest and humble.
Instrumental in helping develop and then importing the Silver Mountain electronic target system, which he first investigated in 2007, he always had the mindset that E Targets would be a long term vehicle to help keep the sport of long range target shooting afloat. Most fullbore clubs in NZ now use these targets and they have allowed greater safety and easier range operation, not to mention better accuracy and enjoyment.
John was the first (and only) Life member of the Hawkes Bay Rifle Club. Amongst many other achievements within and for the club, he was instrumental in designing and installing their new 1000 yard range over the past few years, an added improvement to the clubs no danger range that uses Electronic Targets.
John and Dawne, his (shooting widow!) wife of 59 years had recently moved from their home in Hastings to a retirement village in Havelock North and although having had heart surgery about six months ago, John had recovered well and was looking forward to relaxing with less obligations and stress, although - he was working on some target calibrations in the past few weeks! His sudden illness and death was a shock to family and friends.
John is survived by Dawne, John Jnr and Kathleen, Stuart and Ange and three grandsons. A worker till the end, John will be sorely missed by so many as we have lost one of the really good ones.
So long H.
Can you please advise friends to send any donations to St Johns ambulance in lieu of flowers.
Messages can be sent to Dawne at PO Box 309 Hastings.
Here is a video link to Johns service beginning at 11am Friday 8th.
Johns funeral will be a small private service on Friday 8th at 11am.