Pakuranga Tennis Club celebrates 100 years

Members of the Pakuranga Tennis Club, Opening Day 1946.

Pakuranga Tennis Club celebrates its Centennial next year and is sharing a number of stories over the coming months marking the milestone

A tennis club – originally funded by weekly card evenings and local dances – this year celebrates 100 years of service to the Pakuranga community.

The Pakuranga Tennis Club located opposite Pigeon Mountain (Ohuiarangi) was first formed by a meeting of local farmers held in the Pakuranga Pavilion on Wednesday April 13, 1921.

On a payment of one pound, the Pakuranga Road Board granted the use of the then present post office building to provide for a pavilion. Wire netting surrounding the courts was added to keep the neighboring cows at bay and nets and other equipment purchased.

The club was formally opened on January 7,1922 with two asphalt courts and the completed pavilion.

Foundation membership numbered 26 senior players, presided over by Mr RA ‘Dufty’ Bell, whose homestead is now preserved at the Howick Historical Village. One of the oldest competitions in New Zealand Tennis, The Hughes Cup, was first contested in 1924 between the Pakuranga and Howick clubs.

A third court and a new pavilion constructed by volunteer membership was added after the Second World War. Membership options were expanded to cater for juniors and mid-week ladies and competitions held with neighbouring clubs.

A period of major expansion for the club followed, with three new courts added in 1982, a new two-level clubhouse in 1987 and synthetic grass installed on three of the six courts.

Further growth allowed for night-lighting on all six courts, a sealed car park and full re-furbishment of the clubhouse.

With a bourgeoning membership, the club’s achievements in tennis are noteworthy. For the first time in 1996, a team qualified for participation in Auckland Tennis’s top competition, the Caro Bowl.

The club was awarded Junior Club of the Year in 2002, Senior Club of the Year in 2008, and in 2020 was voted Number One Kids Sports Activity and fourth Most Popular Kids Activity in Manukau City.

Membership now totals 416 with a significant junior and intermediate component of 175.

The ethnically diverse east Auckland region has attracted members from China, Canada, Taiwan, Philippines, Fiji (Indian), Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Club president Jenny Richardson says the club focuses on providing a friendly and welcoming environment for tennis players of any age, ethnicity and standard. She acknowledges the club’s proud history and hard work put in by a largely volunteer membership to maintain the club’s facilities and, in particular, life members, Joy Charman, John Barry, Ralph Witten, Doug Beams, Wayne Thornton, Eric Wilson and Jill Hatley.

To celebrate it’s 100 year history, the club is holding a weekend of activities, including a formal dinner, on February 11, 12, 13, 2022. Past and present members are encouraged to contact the Club Secretary at paktennis@xtra.co.nz with name, email and postal address to receive news and details of celebrity events.

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