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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Young

🚣‍♀️ Waitematā Rowing Club: 140 Years of Excellence 🚣‍♂️

Did you know that Te Atatū is home to a rowing club with a legacy spanning 140 years? making it one of Auckland's oldest rowing clubs.





Established in 1883 by the determined W.G. Smith, the Waitematā Rowing Club overcame economic depression and geographical challenges to become a symbol of sporting excellence and perseverance. From winning the four-mile Whau Regatta just a month after its inception to clinching the Four-Oar Championship of New Zealand in 1909, the club has a rich history of accomplishments.


A significant moment in the club's journey was the participation of Darcy Clarence Hadfield in the 1920 Olympics, bringing home New Zealand's first official Olympic medal—a bronze! Hadfield then moved to professional rowing and won a world title victory over Dick Arnst. An oar belonging to Hadfield has recently been returned to the club and is now on display, a tangible reminder of the club's proud history.


Darcy Clarence Hadfield


The Waitematā Rowing Club stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of resilience and continues to inspire and nurture future generations of rowers, including students from ACG Sunderland, Massey High School, Rutherford High School, Western Springs High School and Waitakere College.


Despite the successes of the club, it faces some challenges mainly due to increasing water pollution in Te Wai o Pareira, the sheltered water that allows the club to train in all weather.


Isn't it amazing to have a club with such history and prestige still operating in our neighbourhood? Let's celebrate this incredible legacy and work together to protect the waters that sustain it.


Long serving member John Pash

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