Venture closing; jobs to go

Auckland tourists Cathy Wang (26) and Monica Chau (20) fire .22 calibre rifles at Have A Shot,...
Auckland tourists Cathy Wang (26) and Monica Chau (20) fire .22 calibre rifles at Have A Shot, beside owner Wayne Palmer. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH
Wanaka business Have a Shot will close its doors next month.

Designer and owner Wayne Palmer (67) said he had sold the building, but retained the company name and property rights.

He had been unable to renew the lease for the business, opposite Wanaka Airport.

It was ``early days yet''and the business might reopen on another site, possibly in Wanaka.

Originally a farmer from Akaroa, and a stockbroker, Mr Palmer came to Wanaka with a dream of creating a safe environment for anyone to use a firearm.

``I'd seen tourists want to try shooting but firearms clubs didn't want them and the tourists didn't want the peer pressure of going to a club.''

Red tape meant it took him five years to get Have A Shot open.

At Have a Shot, which has been operating for 18 years, people could try claybird shooting, archery, mini-putt, cropool (a blend of croquet and billiards created by Mr Palmer), Battlefield (with cannons and sponge balls) or shoot a .22 calibre rifle on a range.

Three permanent staff, including the manager of 12 years, and two casual staff would lose their jobs.

Mr Palmer said it would be a very sad day when it closed, but he would take great memories with him.

``The thrill of seeing someone absolutely terrified of using a firearm and using it for the first time, really enjoying it, and coming back again the next day - that was my reward.''

Have A Shot will close on May 7.

- Kerrie Waterworth

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