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About Taupo Camera Club

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Studio Photographer

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Club History

History of the Taupo Camera Club

 

The Taupo Camera Club was formed in the mid-1950s. The first record of its existence appears in the PSNZ cashbook, noting affiliation fees of £4-11-0 paid on September 27, 1957. The inaugural Annual General Meeting was held on November 26, 1958, at the Taupo District High School, where J. W. Desmond was elected president, succeeding F. A. Tier.

 

Initially, the club aimed to foster interest in the art of photography. It soon introduced competitions and critiques. Black and white competition entries had to be at least 8 x 6 inches, while colour transparencies were required to be in glass mounts. In 1959, an inter-club competition was established between the Taupo, Tokoroa, and Mangakino Camera Clubs. This tradition continues today, with clubs from the Central Plateau competing for the Henry Hope-Cross Memorial Trophy, awarded to the club with the most points.

 

When decimal currency was introduced in 1967, membership fees were set at $3.00 for single members and $1.50 for junior members. The club went into recess in 1974 but was revived in 1977 by Warwick Keys and Jean Bygate, with meetings held at the Hatmak Studios of Howard and Margaret Kidd. The club flourished, organizing successful PSNZ National and Regional Conventions, and for a time had three members on the PSNZ Executive, including Jean Bygate as President.

 

Hatmak Photography Shop, owned by Howard and Margaret Kidd, opened in 1962 at 27 Te HeuHeu Street before moving to 21 Te HeuHeu Street. It was sold in November 1984. The shop was a significant meeting venue for the club, and Margaret Kidd was made an Honorary Member for her support.

 

Between 2002 and 2003, the club faced a decline, with membership dropping to 12 due to internal criticisms. However, a new committee and president in 2004 revitalized the club, increasing membership to nearly 40 by the AGM in November 2004. Gregg Sheehan, who became president in 2006, leveraged his expertise in computers and IT to help the club transition from film to digital photography, including the adoption of Adobe Photoshop CS2 and other digital technologies.

 

The Taupo Camera Club has historically been active in the community, photographing events like the Iron Man and the Taupo Cycle Challenge. In 1990, for the NZ Centennial Celebrations, club members took photographs for a "Time Capsule" buried in the South Domain behind the Super Loo. These photographs were displayed in the Taupo Library in 2001.

 

Charlie Robert Leslie was born in England in 1893. He was a policeman in Chaibassa in India. In the early 1920s he returned to England. His wife and 2 daughters sailed to Australia where they stayed a short time before arriving in New Zealand in 1928. In 1935 they returned to England, and he was occupied designing dust covers for books. War came 1941 and he was involved with Royal Air Experimental Factory.

 

He remained in this work until 1946 then once more sailed for New Zealand with his family. The family settled in Marton. He started a radio repair shop. After his wife died, he decided to make his last home in Taupo. He was in Taupo for 17 years from 1949 — 1966.

 

He was Vice President of Taupo Arts Society. In October 9th 1960 Charlie R. Leslie joined the Taupo Camera Club. He was President in 1963, 1964 and 1965. He wrote various articles on photography, was an expert boat builder and a clever radio engineer. Charlie was a regular contributor to NZ Camera with his familiar canvas hat and cameras. Also, he was well known for his Tabletop Photography. He died in December 1966. Charlie Robert Leslie presented the B Grade Annual Aggregate Cup started in 1961.

 

 

 

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Two notable early members of the Taupo Camera Club are Charlie Robert Leslie and Henry Hope-Cross.

Henry Hope-Cross in his early twenties was an assistant Photographer Universal Studio's for Hei Tiki film at Omori. This film was made 1935. Shortly after that he was married and went to Masterton to live. He started a Studio & Retail Shop business. After the war he was told to go back to his business which he did but went into partnership with Peter Richardson. The business was very successful.

 

Henry became the Technical Sales Director of Agfa from 1956 to 1972. They lived in Wellington for a short time and them the whole family moved to Auckland. In 1972 he retired to Taupo. Henry Hope Cross was on the Camera Club Committee in 1978.

 

In September 1982 he died at the age of 70.

 

There is a Henry Hope-Cross Memorial Trophy which started in 1984 it was called the Four Corners Competition— Turangi, Tirau, Tokoroa and Taupo an Inter-club Competition.

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