The History of Paintball In New Zealand

In this article I’ll attempt to explain the history of paintball as a sport in New Zealand, from the first ever game in the USA, to the current International Tournament scene and New Zealand’s place in it.  I’ll look back at the businesses, teams and personalities who made paintball what it is today.

I’m 29, and have been playing paintball for 16 years since I was 13, so expect a lot of bias, bad memories and gaps filled in by other players who can, and pretend they can remember what happened and when.

Paintball Industry Timeline (New Zealand Dates are in Italics)


  • Photos of dueling with wax pellets in Paris, France are taken


  • Nelson Paint Company Formed


  • Crossman produce the first paintball marker, the  “Crossman 700” or “Nelspot 707”


  • Daisy produce the second paintball marker, the “Splotchmarker”


  • The idea of paintball is first discussed as a game


  • The First Game of Paintball on June 27


  • The first paintball field in the world opens in New Hampshire, USA

  • First Paintball Franchise Opened under NSG (National Survival Game Brand) in USA

  • The First Paintball Tournament in USA

  • First field to open in another country opens, with a NSG field opening in London, Ontaria, Canada


  • First NSG tournament held

  • Sheridan manufactures the PGP paintball pistol

  • Constant Air “california style” CO2 tanks are introduced, and quickly banned from tournaments

  • Home made gravity fed paintball hoppers and elbows appear on paintball markers

  • Paintball first shown on TV’s “60 Minutes”

  • “The Survival Game Manual” is published


  • Paintball is introduced to Australia under the name “skirmish”

  • NSG Splatmaster paintball market is mass produced and sold on the market


  • The first field opens in England

  • (WCT) World Challenge Tag established in Auckland, New Zealand

  • The Ultimate Game established in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Field sizes begin to shrink in a move towards faster games and higher paint volumes


  • Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) passed in USA, Tippmann stops producing .22 calibre machine guns and looks for new industries to manufacture in.

  • Tippmann is founded by Dennis Tippmann and introduces the first full auto paintball marker, the SMG-60 a .62 calibre marker and later teh SMG-68.  Tippman later invent the pin valve for CO2 but do not patent the idea.


  • Action Pursuit Games magazine begins

  • The practise of using barrel plugs for safety begins

  • Budd Orr builds the “sniper” paintball marker, the prelude to the Autococker

  • Component Concepts, manufacturers of the Phantom start operations

  • Air America start operations

  • Lapco start operations


  • IPPA (International Paintball Player Association) founded and decides on the international standard of 300FPS for paintball velocity.  This is later adopted by the ATSM.


  • Gino Postorivo founds NPS (National Paintball Supply), the first of many businesses he is involved in the industry.

  • Delta Force Paintball Established in the UK


  • The first publically traded paintball company is established

  • IPPA hosts the Music City Open the first tournament with broad standards


  • Air Gun Designs founder Tom Kaye produces first nitrogen/HPA tank, does not patent the regulator

  • Paintball begins in France & Denmark

  • Autococker Add on kit introduced for the Sniper Pump Action marker by Budd Orr/WGP


  • Kingman International formed by Arthur Chang with the Hammer Pump

  • The NPPL Tournament Series begins in the USA

  • begins on usenet

  • Sheridan introduces the PMI-3/VM68 Paintball Marker

  • French Pro Team Ton Ton is formed

  • Full Auto paintball markers banned under changes to the Arms (Restricted Weapons and Specially Dangerous Airguns) Order 1984 in New Zealand


  • Kingman introduces the Spyder Semi Auto paintball marker

  • Warpig website is founded at

  • DYE Founded


  • Paintball is shown on ESPN with the NPPL World Cup in Orlando, Florida


  • Pnuventures manufactures the Shocker, and is distributed by Smart Parts.  It is the first electro-pneumatic paintball marker.

  • Sup’Air Ball inflatable barricades first produced


  • Sup’Air Ball barricades are utilised at the 7 Man World Cup in Toulouse, France

  • Brass Eagle splits from Daisy

  • WDP Angel Prototype is unveiled at Zap International Open, a year after the Shocker.


  • First patent for an agitated paintball hopper

  • Tippman Model 98 introduced, becomes the industry standard field rental marker


  • Brass Eagle buys Viewloader

  • Paintball recognised as a legitimate sport by the SGMA


  • First national collegiate event in the USA


  • Sheridan PGP discontinued

  • Paintball guns begin to be referred to as paintball markers post 9/11

  • On/Off Valves introduced for air and CO2 tanks by Smart Parts

  • NPPL introduces requirements for barrel bags/condoms instead of barrel plugs due to electronic markers and high rates of fire

  • FACEFULL Magazine begins publication as a worldwide paintball magazine

  • Professional team San Diego Dynasty is formed by Chuck Hendsch

  • First “stadium” tournament held in New Zealand (WDP Volcanic Rotorua)


  • Brass Eagle acquires JT USA

  • NXL (National X Ball League) is formed by Richmond Italia to be a TV friendly version of the sport based on rules from common sports such as football and hockey

  • NPPL and PSP split

  • Millennium Series begins as a tournament league in Europe
  • Northland Open & Raven Cup move from Whangarei to being hosted in Kumeu, West Auckland


  • Smart Parts Shocker SFT introduced, the patent wars begin

  • Tippman Flatline introduced

  • HPA becomes industry standard for tournament players, CO2 still common on fields and recreational games

  • K2 Sports acquires Brass Eagle and its subsidiaries JT & Viewloader

  • PMI acquires RP Schearer

  • The NZPPA is formed


  • Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball is released on the XBOX

  • Tippman restructures and renames to Tippman Sports LLC

  • A major shift towards Mil-Sim and recball occurs, RAP4 & Tippman begin marketing milsim specific gear

  • New Zealand Team “Auckland Saints” attend the NPPL Huntington Beach event in the USA


  • Tippman introduces propane powered marker, which fails to take off

  • Greg Hastings leaves Redz, forms R7 and releases second XBOX game

  • Smart Parts releases the SP8 milsim electro marker, JT launches line of milsim entry level marker

  • Canadian Xball League founded

  • Tippman acquires Straight Shot, manufacturer of squeegees

  • The first New Zealand team “Kiwi” travels to Malaysia for the Nations Cup, the first international tournament in South East Asia


  • Kingman introduces Milsim style Spyder markers

  • PMI ceases distribution of Tippman products

  • PMI & NPS merge becomes AJ Holdings Ltd

  • Tippman introduces Anti Chop Tech

  • PALS (Paintball Asia League Series Formed)

  • APPBF (Asia Pacific Paintball Federation) concept is floated

  • New Zealand team “Kiwi” travels to Malaysia for the APPC (Asia Pacific Paintball Championship)


  • AJ Holdings Ltd renamed to Kee Action Sports

  • K2 acquired by Jarden Corporation


  • Indian Creek cease operations

  • KEE become distributors of HATER Paintball Products

  • WGP and Autococker products cease production under KEE


  • .50 Cal paintball introduced in USA and some other markets, does not take off in New Zealand

  • KEE Aquires K2 Assets from Jarden Corporation (JT, Brass Eagle, Viewloader etc)


  • Paintball turns 30

  • KEE acquires Smart Parts intellectual property and patents

  • FACEFULL ceases physical publication of its magazine

  • The South Auckland Paintball Club starts its SAPC 5’s Series

  • Lock N Load Paintball opens in Manukau, Auckland


  • Amendments to the Arms Act are voted on in Parliament, law is changed

  • Black Gunz Indoor Paintball opens in Manukau, Auckland


  • RACE To Format introduced into SAPC & NZPPL Series

  • The South Auckland Paintball Club becomes an Incorporated Society

  • Full Auto, Ramping & Select Fire are legal in New Zealand

  • Asylum Paintball opens in Kingseat, Auckland

  • Actions Paintball acquires WCT World Challenge Tag site in Riverhead, Auckland and ceases operation in Swanson

  • KEE/Empire re introduce Sniper and Autococker products back into the market

  • GI Pulse RDR loader appears on the market with built in radar chronograph

  • NPPL and Pure Promotions announce split for 2014 seasons, Pure Promotions announce new league, the APL (American Paintball League) running Millennium Series style rules.
  • G.I. Sportz acquires Tippmann


The Evolution of Paintball As A Sport (Feb 19, 2004)

Paintball History, The Ongoing History of Paintball


Dec, 12, 2013