Trophy's history a mystery

LUKE KIRKE
Last updated 05:00 27/05/2014
David Trewavas and mystery trophy
LUKE KIRKEBY

PROPOSAL: Mayor David Trewavas is hoping to re-establish a sports event around the trophy.

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A Taupo man still hopes to solve a decades-old mystery of a World War I era trophy.

So far owner Garry Carlyle has been unable to find anyone with knowledge of the competition it marked.

He stumbled across the 75 yards Taupo Dash trophy, won by World War I veteran W Martin on Easter Monday in 1920, while cleaning out his mother's house in Taupo recently.

Carlyle said the story behind the Walker and Hall hallmark 1916 silver vase and what event it was made for has been a mystery for 40 years.

"My granddad was living in an old folks' village in Hamilton and the trophy belonged to his neighbour who was dying. Granddad said his daughter was coming back to Taupo and she would return it here," he said.

"My mother brought it back just before my grandfather died, but the Taupo Museum didn't want it, nobody wanted it."

Carlyle believes it could be from Taupo's first major sporting event.

"I asked mum what should happen with it [when sorting her place out] and she said to give it to the Salvation Army because nobody wanted it, then I read it and said ‘no it's important' and I started to make inquiries," he said.

The closest he's come to a possible clue was when contacting the National Army Museum in Waiouru.

"They helped the best they could and found out about a soldier called Walter George Martin from Rotorua," he said.

"A lot of returned servicemen at the time were working on the rail link to Taupo because there was very little work after the war and he seems to be the closest fit.

"I also phoned Walker and Hall in Auckland to see if I could trace it back to the original purchaser in England.

He was yet to hear back.

Carlyle said a friend told him it was common to have races after the war where soldiers were carried by other soldiers over a certain distance and he would like to see some sort of event resurrected.

Taupo Mayor David Trewavas said he too would like to see an event involving the trophy.

"It is quite neat because although we have a lot of history with bits and pieces there is nothing sporty.

"It sounds like it was an annual race between services and it would be great to get an event running again as part of our World War I centenary celebrations next year," he said.

Trewavas suggested something may be held around the same time as the original event and involving the fire brigade and police.

"I think as far as sporting events in Taupo go, this trophy has probably unearthed the oldest and that is exciting," he said.

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- Waikato Times

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