After the amalgamation of the RSA, Caledonian and Heretaunga chartered clubs in 2016, Bowls Heretaunga (then an adjunct of Clubs Hastings), changed it's name to "Bowls Hastings".
Bowls Heretaunga was formed in the year 2001 when the Karamu Bowling Club (see photo) amalgamated with the Heretaunga Bowling Club. The Reed Maori- English dictionary states that 'Here' translates as- to tie (a mooring line), 'Taunga' means come to rest, pertaining to a canoe that landed near a notable meeting house named Whatonga which was situated near to where Hastings is today.
The Heretaunga Chartered Club purchased the site on the corner of Victoria and Hastings streets from Mr. D. Newbigin in December 1959 for 9,500 pounds ($19,000). The property contained a large house and an acre of land including a swimming pool. As the portion containing the tennis court and the sunken garden was deemed to be about the right size for a bowling green, in 1960 a meeting of interested bowlers was held to discuss the formation of an outdoor bowling club. Luke Brough was elected Chairman and President of the club, with Bill Bull, Vice President. The remainder of those present formed the committee. Karamu (temporarily named Mayfair) was to be the name of the new club as the name 'Heretaunga Bowling Club' near Stortford Lodge already existed. The Chartered club provided the materials and all the labour, expertise and machinery was volunteered by the prospective bowlers. The first subscription was two pounds, two shillings $4.20) - reduced to one pound, ten shillings ($3) for prompt payment. The final cost of the bowls pavilion was 2,700 pounds ($5,400). The green was first sowed in Dichondra, then Mercury Bay weed and finally cotula before the green was demolished and two Greengauge carpet all weather greens were constructed in the year 2001.
The St.Leonards Club was inaugurated in 1913 with the official opening of the pavilion and one green on October 26, 1915. This was situated between St. Leonards Avenue and Heretaunga Street West, now the site of the Mormon Church, Stortford Lodge. While the new green was being prepared, members were grateful for the use of the Hastings Bowling Club facilities. According to records at the Hasting Library, Mr. G.F.Roach, vice president of the new club, greeted guests and members in the absence of the president Dr. Mckibbin, who had volunteered and was on his way to the front during the first world war. Mrs Roach threw up the first jack, rolled the first bowl and the Mayor, Mr. W. Hart declared the new bowling club open. In 1932 The St. Leonards Club became the Heretaunga Men's Bowling Club Inc. and in 1938 women were admitted and formed their own club (the first women's club in the East Coast district). The men's and women's clubs amalgamated in June 1997. The clubs three greens and a half, (the Bull Ring) were initially sown in grass - brown top & fescue and later cotula weed groovings were obtained from Palmerston North. The Webber Shield (1943) was a notable, prestigious tournament, filling 6 or more greens throughout Hastings and attracting entries from all over New Zealand. Unfortunately many of the early archives. papers and photographs of these clubs were lost after three disastrous fires.
Some photographs of the former Heretaunga Bowling Club and the Karamu Bowling Club can be viewed on the 'Gallery' page.
The "Karamu Lounge" sign (above the Bar) in our club rooms was donated by former member Barbara Hulena in memory of her late husband Keith . A permanent sign was envisaged to commemorate and remember the Karamu Bowling Club which gave up its name when it amalgamated with the Heretaunga Bowling Club. 2001 The large slab of Kauri was carved by Keith Hulena's brother Owen, with the words "Karamu Lounge"