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New Zealand Society of Gunsmiths Inc.
Promoting Excellence in Gunsmithing
PO Box 52, Kaitaia, 0441, New Zealand. Tel/Fax + 64 9 409 3835
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Gunsmiths’ society fellowship for weapons curator
By Wanda Lepionka-Strong

A curiosity about weapons systems and a passionate interest in the conservation of historical and rare firearms have been rewarded with a fellowship from the New Zealand Society of Gunsmiths, the highest qualification one can attain in the society.

The Army Museum’s Assistant Curator Weapons and Ammunition, Joe Evans, was awarded the title "Fellow of the new Zealand Society of Gunsmiths", by the museum’s Weapons Technical Advisor, Tony Plummer, a founding member of the society.

Mr Plummer said that Mr Evans was recognised for his knowledge, efforts and abilities in weapons and ammunition.

Mr Evans said that as an Army ammunition technician he learnt about weapon systems and became intrigued and fascinated by the history of the weapons he worked with. While being posted to Wairuru, he would often be found working behind the scenes. "I used to volunteer and work in the Army Museum, and now I have a job here which I find incredibly satisfying".

His passion for the job is obvious and conservation is his main priority. "My job is to research the history of a weapon, make sure it is correct and also to determine its historical significance’, he said.

The museum displays up to 250 firearms, ranging from a 15th Century Japanese matchlock, to the Styr rifle. The rarest firearms it has is a Czechoslovakian light machine gun.

Mr Evans said: "Only ten or twelve of these were made for the 1933 trials in England. It is a highly valuable weapon and most sought after."

The New Zealand Society of Gunsmiths was formed in 1993. It’s purpose is to gain recognition for the gunsmith trade in New Zealand. Mr Plummer said the National Qualifications Authority has set standards for the trade and an apprenticeship is equivalent to a five-eyar engineering apprenticeship.

The Army Museum’s Assistant Curator Weapons and Ammunition, Joe Evans, works on a World War II Italian anti-tank rifle. Mr Evans said the New Zealand Army in North Africa captured the Solothurn S18-1000 20mm rifle. Of particular significance was that this weapon was used in training New Zealand soldiers before they went overseas.


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