In 1955 the Lake Taupo and District Angling Club and the Upper Waikato & Tongariro Anglers’ Club decided to merge; the new club was named the Tongariro and Lake Taupo Angling Club, TALTAC.
The new club had about 500 members and a cottage. Its primary objective was to provide a voice that would carry weight in maintaining and improving conditions in the interests of all anglers in the Taupo Fishery.
The Wildlife Service of the Department of Internal Affairs oversaw the welfare of the Fishery and TALTAC worked with the Service alerting it to issues such as access, water quality and poaching. In 1987 the Department’s function was taken over by the Department of Conservation.
As the recreational facilities of the Lake Taupo area became more popular the need for a coordinated voice of all users to address issues to the Wildlife Service became apparent and in 1961 a federation was founded. TALTAC was initially a major participant in what is now the main users’ organisation, the Taupo Fishery Advisory Committee.
Pressures from conflicting interests were threatening the Tongariro catchment, foremost being the Tongariro Power Scheme which ultimately reduced the river’s flow by half. TALTAC members pestered ministers and fought for information from an unforthcoming government to mitigate the effects of the scheme. The ever present threat of trout farming with its attendant diseases has been resisted with partial success as were proposals to introduce large-mouth bass and other exotic species.
By 1960 the Club’s accommodation had been expanded to provide cabins, a kitchen and a drying room. Over the years improvements have continued until today, in 2013, there are 9 double cabins, 4 single ones and the original cottage which sleeps 5 and has its own drying room. There are men’s and women’s bathrooms, a gutting and cleaning room with freezers and a smoke house. The 12 seat kitchen/dining room leads to a substantial lounge with a wood fire and fly-tying facilities all making for a pleasant end to a day on the water.
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Today with membership steady at 500 and well maintained facilities the Club is thriving. It is so because of the commitment of past and present people who are prepared to give their time, skills and energy to the wellbeing of TALTAC.
Excerpts from the book
Facilities (in the cottage) were basic and members had to bring all their own bedding, cooking and eating equipment. The committee soon set about adding a kitchen but it became apparent that there was a need for extra accommodation. There was dissension about this and it was decided that a postal ballot should decide the issue. The ballot result was that 185 members were in favour of building and 40 against. A splinter group then formed and challenged the legality of the ballot; tempers ran high and legal action was threatened.
The Tongariro Power Scheme
TALTAC and other organisations fought a rear-guard action against the diminution of flow of the Tongariro River. In the long run, thanks to the co-operation of the NZ Electricity Department they were able to establish minimum flows and ‘freshes’ to enable the river to regularly clear itself of weed and sediment in the absence of natural flooding.
Meanwhile the Wildlife Service was working to have safeguards put in place. This was to ensure that water flow and spawning qualities were not compromised, and to prevent the ingress into the Taupo Conservancy of lampreys and eels from the diverted waters of the Wanganui.
For a full history of TALTAC the book “TALTAC, The First Fifty Years of the Tongariro and Lake Taupo Anglers’ Club” is available from the Club Manager for $20 plus postage or from Sporting Life in Turangi town centre.