Newspaper Article 2016 – Farmer was top marksman

Farmer was top marksman

Roland John (Roly) Cammock
June 19, 1921-June 21, 2016


A Hawke’s Bay man who won New Zealand’s oldest sports trophy has died in Napier, two days after his 95th birthday.

Fullbore rifle shooter Roly Cammock, was a Porangahau farmer shooting for the Waipukurau club when he won the Ballinger Belt at the National Rifle Association’s annual championship at Trentham in 1978.

The Belt has been contested every year since 1861, except during the two world wars. Mr Cammock’s triumph went one better than brother Maurice Cammock, also of Waipukurau, who was top New Zealand shooter four years earlier when runner-up in the belt’s Queen’s Prize top 50 shoot behind crack international marksman Major Walter Magnay of Great Britain. It as a particularly rich era for Hawke’s Bay riflemen who were the top New Zealanders in the big January shoot five times from Okawa shooter Morrie Gordon’s third win, in 1970, to that of John Hastie, also shooting for Okawa, in 1982, the last by any rifleman from the region.

Roly Cammock also in 1968 won the Ross Carbine Cup Masefield Aggregate, which his brother had won in 1954.

Like his brother and their father, Carl, he represented New Zealand many times, both here and abroad, including Australia, Britain, the US, and South Africa. It has included the coveted events of rifle shooting worldwide, Bisley in England and the Palma Match, which will next be shot in conjunction with the 2019 World Championships at Trentham. He also became a New Zealand selector.

The National Rifle Association website also records some notable achievements, including a 105 over 300, 500 and 600 yards in a Hawke’s Bay Champion Teams Match in 1968, and a 7.62 rifle high of 199.21 over 500, 600, 800 and 900 yards at the Wellington spring meeting in 1974.

Mr Hastie, of Napier, first shot abroad with Roly Cammock in 1976 at Bisley and the Palma Match centennial at Camp Perry, Long Island, and said the Cammocks were “crack shots”, known for the temperament required to overcome the nerves at the most crucial moments.

“Its pretty hard to fire the last shot, that 10th shot,” he said. “But Roly Cammock did it successfully a number of times. He practised a lot for it. There must be a hill on the farm back at Porangahau that must be just full of lead.”

Keith Cammock, of Dannevirke, said his father was born in Dannevirke, when parents Carl and Rachel were farming at Matamau, where he started school. They then moved to a farm at Mangaorapa, near Porangahau.

After high school and studying at Massey, he joined the Air Force at the age of 20 in World War II, training at Wigram (Christchurch) and in Canada, flying in the Coastal Command in Ireland, and then spending much of his time based in Algeria and ferrying heavy aircraft around the Middle East and into southern Europe.

After the war he bought the Green Rose dairy in Wairoa where he met Jeune Hall, who was from a farm at Ardkeen, near Waikaremoana.

They married in Wairoa on May 19, 1950, and later settled back on the 477ha family farm near Porangahau, a sheep and beef operation where they also raised sons Keith and the now late Ron.

With Roy’s Hill Range near Hastings closed, Mr Cammock shot well into his 80s, travelling regularly through the Manawatu Gorge to the nearest remaining fullbore range at Cheltenham, north of Feilding.

Interests at Porangahau included family days water skiing, from about 1966 and himself skiing on the river into his early 60s. The family also holidayed regularly at a family bach at Mahia.

The couple retired from the farm in 2002 and moved to Napier where they lived on Hospital Hill, both then moving to Princess Alexandra retirement village about four years ago. The farm remains in the family, with a manager in charge.

Mr Cammock is survived by wife of 66 years Jeune, son Keith, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The funeral was at Beth Shan Chapel, Napier, on Saturday.

Photo captions –

MARRIED: Roly and Jeune Cammock.   PHOTO/SUPPLIED

BIG DAY: Roly Cammock being taken by chair off the range at Trentham, after winning the Ballinger Belt in 1978. In front are sons Keith and Ron, with brother also fellow crack-shot Maurice (centre).


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

27 June 2016


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Carl Cammock
  • Jeune Cammock, nee Hall
  • Keith Cammock
  • Maurice Cammock
  • Rachel Cammock
  • Roland (Roly) John Cammock
  • Ron Cammock
  • Morrie Gordon
  • John Hastie
  • Major Walter Magnay

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