Although archery is one of man's oldest pastimes, it was not introduced into New Zealand until the 1870s when a group of archers formed a club at One Tree Hill, Auckland. Shortly afterwards, similar clubs were formed at Dunedin and at Wellington where the first Association of Archery Clubs was formed. It was not until 1942, however, that any moves towards forming a New Zealand Archery Association were made. This came into being on 1 January 1943 when the Dunedin, Brooklyn, Mangere, Palmerston North, Gisborne, Griffens, Ngaio, Gaiety, Wellington, and Timaru clubs were affiliated. By 1964 there were 39 clubs affiliated. Six sub-associations–Auckland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Taranaki, Wellington, and South Island–control the sport in their respective districts. These are affiliates of the national body which, in turn, is affiliated to the International Federation in England.
The objects of the New Zealand Archery Association are to encourage and promote the growth of the sport in all its forms, and to conduct national championships in archery. In 1944 the first national championships were held. At first these took the form of a postal shoot, but since 1948 they have been held as a tournament. The winners of the New Zealand Men's and Women's Open Championships are at end of this article.
In flight archery, where the object is to attain the longest possible distance with the lightest bow in the given class, the New Zealand record for the open class is 579 yards. This was established in 1957 at Levin by J. W. Hinchco who is also the only holder of the coveted Master Bowman, New Zealand, title.