A “milestone” for Auckland rowing has been achieved with the official opening of the Waitemata Rowing Club’s new premises at the Taipari Strand in Te Atatu North.
Waitemata Mayor Mr Tony Covic raised the club flag and opened the boat shed doors to officially open the unfinished clubrooms.
The ceremony was held mainly to pay tribute to the work put into re-establishing the club, says club secretary Mr Brian Parr. He says the day was important for Auckland rowing as it signals the start of a resurgence in one of Auckland’s oldest rowing clubs – a century old in 1983.
The ceremony also marked the opening of the club’s new season with mixed trial four heats held for the Presidents Pennants and an “old boys” race. A large gathering included Te Atatu MP Dr Michael Bassett and his wife and former Mayor Mr Jack Colvin.
The Te Atatu North premises are the fifth clubrooms build by the club. Since its inception in 1883 the club has occupied about 12 clubhouses. It’s last move was from Okahu Bay at Orakei to Te Atatu. Funds from the sale of the Orakei boatshed helped establish the Te Atatu building.
Mr Parr says the club has taken five years to establish itself at Te Atatu but is now well on the way to becoming once of the best Auckland Clubs, with the assistance of local firms, donations and members fundraising efforts.
Club president Mr Vic Hadfield, like his father and former world sculling champion, Mr Darcy Hadfield, has been a driving force behind the club’s building programme. Mr Darcy Hadfield built the club’s previous shed and Mr Vic Hadfield has spent many hours helping establish the existing premises. The mainstay of the club’s rowing activities and for many years club captain, Mr Fred Paintain has been responsible for coaching new members, maintaining boats and keeping the club in competition.
Last season the club had four intermediate men placed in the Auckland and New Zealand championships.
One setback suffered by the club this year was the theft of it only coaching boat motor. Club members are seeking funds to replace the engine.
With a membership of 40, the club has bought two “fours” during the past three seasons and hopes to buy and “eight”.
Opening day results, Presidents Pennant, J.Fox, S.Bruggy, D.Abernathy (cox), 1; S.Deverall; M.Chote, K.Ellis, T.Griffin, S.Hogan (cox), 2.
The “old boys” four comprised: Vic Hadfield, Don Doughty, Gary Wright, Ray Nicholson and Patrick Annely (cox).