Isaac Ellery was possibly born to be an archer. The 15-year-old, Year 11 student at Botany Downs Secondary College is following in the footsteps of his grandfather Dave Ellery and mother Elizabeth Ellery-Siaosi, both of whom have represented New Zealand and won national titles, not to mention an aunt who is pretty handy with the bow and arrows too.
And the young Ellery is proving to be a sharpshooter in his chosen sport, ranked No 1 in New Zealand in the cadet men's compound division and not long ago winning his fourth consecutive national target competition in Rotorua.
Last week he won the Auckland secondary schools compound title. The competition winds up tonight with a fun shoot. He also took out the interschool matchplay archery champs on Saturday at the North Shore Archery Club, despite some gear issues in the qualifying round.
Ellery is a specialist compound archer. Others compete in the recurve event.
But don't think Ellery had a bow in his hands whilst still in nappies. Archery came to him later in life.
"It was when Mum came to camp with me (aged 10). There was archery there and I liked it. My Mum encouraged me to shoot to see how it would go. It turned out pretty good in the end."
Now his mother and his grandfather act as his coaches, and he has the chance to practise every day, as there is an indoor target at home, though he shoots from just 5m there, not the 18m from which school archery competitions are framed. He shoots for the Mountain Green club on Mt Albert, so his family rack up the ks getting him there and back.
"I just focus on form. There are flaws in everyone's archery, so I just try and improve on them," Ellery says.
His passion for the sport is evident. "I like doing something I like and not what everyone else is playing. Archery is a very mental sport. Forty per cent is physical and the other 60 is in the mind. Archery is about keeping focused throughout the competition.
"I try and concentrate on the next shot and not on what has gone before, because then you worry about what you've done and it will pile up. You have to stay in the present."
While the competitive element of archery is clear, one must shut out the opposition form and scores, says Ellery.
"If you try and top their score, that's going to be a mind game in itself.
"Some aim above [the bullseye] and draw down but I draw it into the goal and wait until I feel confident to shoot," he says.
Thus far that method is paying dividends. Just last month he shot an Auckland schools compound record in the 40cm target face category. That is serious marksmanship.
Though he competes against seniors much older than him, and even his mother on occasion, he cannot represent New Zealand at senior level until he hits 18. The Olympics are not on the agenda, as there is no compound competition, but the Commonwealth Games certainly are. What price 2018 or 2022?
Ellery is in no hurry. He will just keep eyeing up his target and letting fly.