Following approval at a public meeting, Mapua Bowling Club was born on July 2nd 1927. An easy birth and a stable start to life for six years on the Reserve on what is now the north-west corner of Iwa and Toru Streets.
Numerous working bees removed broome, gorse and clay in preparation for the first use of the green on 14th November 1928. The men were happy but, shock horror, the ladies present were allowed to try the green too.
The Club was registered in 1929 and colours of maroon and gold adopted. Despite the building of a pavilion and the digging of a well, the site was a constant problem and the green never came up to standard.
Time to move. In 1933 Mr Ian Napier leased the Club a piece of land for a peppercorn rental in front of his orchard at the bottom of Seaton Valley Road.
The fledgling club with a new green was ready to play in 1934 and the male dominated membership agreed to lease half of it to the Ladies Croquet (or crochet depending on which historical records you choose to believe) Club. The idea of the gals with their crochet hooks and yarn monopolising half the green is an appealing vision.
It wasn't to last. In 1936 the ladies and their mallets (or hooks) had to shift as the men now wanted the full green.
During the World War 2 years, members passed a resolution that any conscientious objectors should be barred from the Club and membership. This is an unbearable thought. Money was raised for patriotic funds and the land surrounding the green was planted with vegetables.
More changes. In 1942 ladies and boys were allowed to join but could only play when the men did not need the green. The ladies must have taken a stand finally because in 1948 a proper lease was drawn up with Mr Napier and the ladies were allowed to play in the evenings and on Saturdays if there were no inter-club matches.
In 1953 a new pavilion was built.
Bowling success came to the Club in 1960 when Mr Fahey won the Singles Championship at Mapua followed by the Champion of Champions within the Nelson Centre. This is quite an achievement and hasn’t been repeated by a Mapua bowler for singles. The Mapua Bowling Club at Nelson Centre level Champion of Champions has once won the Men’s Junior Fours, the Men’s Junior Pairs and the Ladies Senior Pairs.
At last! In the 1972/1973 season the ladies at last formed their own section known as Mapua Ladies Bowling Club.
The 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1977 with a tournament and buffet tea.
The records have nothing significant to report until 1988 when an extension was built on the clubhouse and a bar installed with a bar licence granted the following year. And during the 1989/1990 season the Club was connected to the Mapua water scheme and invested in an automatic sprinkler. Presumably hoses and watering cans prior!
League Bowls started in 1992 and continues on Monday evenings to this day. Now known as Leisure Bowls it is an opportunity for people to play who can't attend daytime sessions. Find out more at CLUB INFO - COME & JOIN US on the main menu.
In 1996 the Club was connected to the Mapua sewerage scheme and a new toilet arrived for the ladies. What happened before is anybody’s guess!
Another anniversary in 1997, the 70th, and it was celebrated by deciding that the men and ladies should amalgamate in line with Bowls NZ.
In the years leading up to 2002 there was a push towards relocating the Club yet again. There appears to have been a view amongst senior members as, 'interesting thought but it’s never going to happen.' But in 2002/2003, a questionnaire was distributed to all club members in preparation for a vote at the AGM on whether to move from Seaton Valley Road to the Domain.
A sub-committee undertook a feasibility study and recommended the move at the AGM. As there were only two votes against the motion was carried. A building sub-committee led the project which was very much a ‘hands-on’ affair.
And the result is as you see it on the Domain today. Mapua Bowling Club is alive and well and has now celebrated its 90th birthday.
Mapua Bowling Club - Sport for all abilities and all ages