Founded in 1883, Waitemata Rowing Club (WRC) is one of the oldest in Auckland. And it continues to attract enthusiastic rowers from all over the West.
The club has been at its current location in Te Atatu Peninsula’s Taipari Strand since 1983. And it has a long and rich history of nurturing rowing talent. Many club members have enjoyed national and international success. And perhaps the most notable former member is Darcy Hadfield. One of New Zealand’s all-time rowing greats, Darcy was the first Kiwi to win an Olympic medal at the 1920 Games.
Darcy’s achievements were celebrated at a special event in November when the Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro visited WRC to unveil some of Darcy’s trophies and memorabilia.
‘It was a privilege to welcome Dame Cindy and celebrate the life and achievements of Darcy Hadfield,’ says Club President John Pash. Among the displayed items were Darcy's prized bronze Olympic medal and a cup from the 1919 Peace Games held in Paris.
New members are always welcome at WRC. The club caters to rowers of all ages and abilities, including schools, colleges and seasoned masters. Training continues throughout the year, with local and national regattas in the summer months. ‘We provide a low-cost year-round rowing programme to the West Auckland community and provide a social hub for Te Atatu and the West,’ John explains.
Like most sports and community-based organisations, the pandemic has impacted WRC’s finances. However, an application to the Your West Support Fund has meant the club can invest in some much-needed new oars.
‘Oars are costly equipment, and they wear out over time,’ reports John. According to John, WRC hasn’t been able to buy new oars for the last five years. ‘We have been making do by sanding down and repainting our existing ones,’ he adds.
Thanks to the Your West Support Fund, club members have some brand-new, cutting-edge oars. ‘The new oars are the latest design and are made of a superior material that should stand the test of time,’ says John. He adds that they can be used in single and double boats, and so will benefit several crews.
Rowing is one of New Zealand's most successful Olympic sports, and there's never been a better time to get involved. It's a great sport for overall health and fitness, and many lifelong friendships have been forged on the water. So why not head on down to Taipari Strand and give rowing a go?