Former Sport Fly Fishing New Zealand (SFFNZ) President, national champion, and all-round good bloke, Peter Scott has been named the organisation’s new Patron.

“It’s quite an honour. I’ve always thought of myself as one of the indians and not one of the chiefs so it’ll take some getting used to,” he laughs.

Peter said he was proud to accept the appointment, but that it was tinged with sadness as it comes following the passing of former SFFNZ Patron Jill Mandeno at the end of last year.
“Jill was an amazing character and did a lot for the sport, she was a great lady,” says the 71-year-old, who has represented New Zealand 14 times.

SFFNZ President Paul Dewar said the decision to offer Peter the position was a reflection of the esteem in which he is held and the commitment and effort he has shown to the organisation over the years.

“We’re proud that Peter has agreed to become SFFNZ Patron,” said Paul. “He has been a stalwart of SFFNZ for many years, he was a big part of the organisation when I joined in 2002. He has fished, or assisted in organising, most regional, national, and international competitions since he started in 1998, including World, Commonwealth and Oceania Championships.

“As well as being a top competitor for such a long time, he has always put his hand up and helped at every level of SFFNZ. It’s people like Peter that make organisations survive and grow. As well as being a great SFFNZ member he’s always been a welcoming face and a good mentor to new competitors. We are privileged to have him as our Patron.”

Peter’s gregarious personality and can-do attitude has made him a well-known figure throughout sport fly fishing in New Zealand and the world. There are many strings to the bow of the former SFFNZ President and national champion, including being a world record-breaking distance runner.
In 1979 he was part of the Lynndale Athletic Club’s successful 24-hour one mile relay world record attempt. Peter ran 30 miles that day, averaging 4 mins 51 seconds per mile. His team ran a total of 297 miles, beating the previous record by just 98 yards. Peter was still running competitively when he first took up fly fishing at the age of 43.

“I had no issues with competing and putting myself out there, I knew that was the fastest way to learn,” says Peter. “There were 17 guys at my first comp on the Ohinemuri. I’d never caught a trout without an indicator before, and you weren’t allowed them. I’d never caught a fish wetlining or on the dry fly and there I was lining up. I finished last,” he laughs. “And then won it the next year.”
Four years later, in 1997, he was crowned national champion in Wanaka. He would finish runner-up in 2005 as well.

“You just put your toe on the line, don’t care about getting a whooping and just learn as quickly as you can. I’d started so late in life, that was the only way. You couldn’t learn in 10 years what you’ll learn in one year competing.”

He went to his first World Championships in 1998 in Poland, becoming New Zealand cap number 25 in the process.
“It was an amazing experience and a special place, I love Poland. I fished my first ever lake competition during that World Championships, on a really hard venue, everyone was terrified of it. I drew it first and drew the Polish competitior who said he knew where the fish were. I said: 'You’re captain for 3 hours!' I got 2 fish and 3 fish won it; I was third in the session.”

Peter has placed third in group sessions three times at World Championships (Poland 1998, Sweden 2001 and Portugal 2006) and has a best overall performance of 52nd, in Sweden 2001. He says he has no intention of retiring from competitions.
“I like the people that I compete against. I just love going to events and the banter with everyone; they’re all fish nutters just like me. It was the same in my running days, I met some fantastic athletes, Olympic champions, and they were good blokes.”

Peter is no stranger to hard work and ran the New Zealand nationals for over a decade, having been ‘embarrassed’ into the job.
“At the time Strato Cotsilinis ran every nationals, scored every nationals and competed in every nationals; for years he did that, amazing, what a bloke. In the end I just got so embarrassed that he was doing everything I put my hand up to do it. So around 2000 I started organising them.”

He took that experience into doing the bulk of the organising the venues for the last World Championships to be held in New Zealand, in 2008. It was a lot of hard work but a resounding success.
“I remember the English champion angler John Horsey at the time saying it was the best worlds he’d ever been to, and he’s been to a few, so that was pleasing. The fishing was outstanding that year.”

Peter has had a varied working life including being a qualified coach builder, running a courier business, owning a Blueberry Orchard, working in Tisdalls Sports and then co-founding and running Auckland fishing tackle shop Rod and Reel.

‘Uncle Peter’, as he is affectionately known in SFFNZ circles, was born and raised in New Lynn, Auckland, but now lives on the banks of the Whanganui River, in Taumarunui, with his wife of 50 years, Lynley. The couple have two sons, Daniel and Ryan, and two grandchildren.

As part of becoming Patron, Peter will also be made a SFFNZ life member. Congratulations Peter, you deserve it.