Croquet was introduced to the Nelson area by the German immigrants who settled in the Moutere district during the 19th century. Croquet became a popular pastime on the many private lawns attached to the early estates, with many Sunday afternoon croquet parties.
Women players had a number of challenges when playing the game in the warmer climate of Nelson, dressed for sport in the bombazines and black alpaca frocks of the day. A female croquet player of the 19th century wore a “sports robe” which was a voluminous dress weighing 11Ibs, lined from neck to hem, well boned. It took up to thirty yards of material to make a dress which swept the ground all around, with a minimum of three petticoats.
Nelson Croquet Club claims to be the oldest established croquet club in New Zealand, formed in 1901 for “genteel people of breeding”. The plan was to have several lawns gathered in the one situation instead of the piecemeal arrangement of single lawns in private gardens. In 1920, in an effort to raise funds, subscriptions were raised from ten shillings to twelve shillings and sixpence.
Formal application was made to the Nelson City Council for municipal lawns in 1927. There was much heated negotiation before the Council made available lawns at the present headquarters in Rutherford Park. A pavilion was built costing £150.
The Hinemoa Croquet Club was formed in 1908 commencing play on a private property. With an increasing membership, an application was made to Nelson City Council in 1933 for four municipal lawns. This was granted in 1941 and the Hinemoa and Nelson Croquet clubs became neighbours on the present site, and shared the pavilion. A new, much larger Bert Scheib Pavilion was built and opened in 1998. In 2005, the two croquet clubs fully amalgamated to form Nelson Hinemoa Croquet Club, with nine full sized lawns.
Hinemoa Croquet Club Opening 18 December 1946 on Halifax Street grounds.