A combination of voices chatting over upbeat music can be heard stemming from the Wanganui Darts League Hall on an otherwise quiet Heads Rd in Castlecliff.

Darts fly through the air inside before thudding into bristle dartboards while competitors watch on with eager eyes and supporters down cold beverages.

It's day six of the Downer New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui and the start of a four-day stretch in which darts players get their chance to shine.

An elderly figure approaches asking about photographs and as it turns out, he was involved in the very first event held in 1989.

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"There's only two of us left here from the first one, me and Laurie Jarman," says 74-year-old competitor Murray Uings.

Frank Mathers from Australia lines up his target on the first day of darts at the Downer New Zealand Masters Games. Photo / Stuart Munro
Frank Mathers from Australia lines up his target on the first day of darts at the Downer New Zealand Masters Games. Photo / Stuart Munro

"There was no age group, everybody played everybody. The vibe was good, there were only about a dozen competitors then."

Uings was born in Whanganui and moved almost 300km south to Picton to work on the railway in the 60s.

It was while living and working there for 25 years that Uings started playing darts.

"It's hard to say exactly why I got into darts, I just enjoy it, not that I'm much good.

"Although I've got a heap of medals at home, first, second, third."

Uings transferred to Palmerston North where he continued playing darts, estimating his medal tally to be at about 17 throughout his time competing.

Some competitors took time between games for a bit of banter and refreshments. Photo / Stuart Munro
Some competitors took time between games for a bit of banter and refreshments. Photo / Stuart Munro

Uings said that the numbers had dropped off a lot since he competed in the first Masters Games.

"I can remember every board in this hall was full and there were eight players on each board," Uings says.

"Still, it's good to catch up with all the people that were here at the last event and no one's fussed if they win or lose really."

As for the ever modest Uings, he won his first game of the day and is set to compete later in the afternoon.

"I was playing like crap, but nevermind," he says.

Murray Uings continues competing in darts at the Masters Games after starting at the original event 30 years ago. Photo / Stuart Munro
Murray Uings continues competing in darts at the Masters Games after starting at the original event 30 years ago. Photo / Stuart Munro