Masters Rowing Survey 2022

Masters and Past Rowers:  Feedback to the Legion February 2022

Profile of Responders

A survey was sent to 656 people on the Legion’s database and an invitation was also extended through the New Zealand Masters Facebook group. The purpose of the survey was to learn about the Legion of Rowers members and gather feedback that will be useful input for the Legion’s planning process. The database is primarily Masters Rowers as well as Past Rowers. There was a pleasing response with 185 people completing the survey. Those that responded were from 37 clubs across New Zealand, 25 in the North Island and 12 in the South Island. Most people were members of Rowing Clubs with just 16 people indicating they were not a current member of a Club.

The age of people responding ranged from 21 years (coxswain) through to 86 years old. There was a smaller number of people responding in the younger age groups – 27 to 42 years, this may indicate the demands of work and younger families.

NZ Masters Rowers age distributionMost people, 76%, indicated their rowing preference was to compete in regattas. The average age range interested peaked in the 50 to 59 age groups.

NZ rowing competition preferences

Masters are an adventuresome group. A large number of people indicated they participate in other rowing activities e.g., away trips, coastal rowing, rowing holidays or rowing adventures.

65% of masters participate in other rowing experiences

Masters are Integral to Club Management and Functioning

Masters and Past rowers are the backbone of many Clubs. The majority of the people indicated they have actively participated in administration of their Club and even more indicated they volunteer for other jobs around the Club such as maintenance, cleaning boat loading and truck driving.

66% participate in administration in Clubs

79% of masters volunteer for jobs around the Club

This was further reinforced when describing the strengths that Masters bring to their Clubs. The strengths identified were experience and maturity along with organisational and management skills, knowledge, rowing/boat maintenance skills as well as financial and membership stability.

The key challenges Masters face is access to boats/equipment and coaching.

Introduction to Rowing

Just over one third of the people started their rowing experience as a mature adult (Masters) rower (36%), this was followed by people who started rowing at school (28%) and Club (17%).

Masters how did first start rowing

The two main ways people became involved with rowing were through their children rowing or friends/ partner encouraging them to row. This was followed by school.

How get involved in rowing

The reason why people are involved in the world of rowing is equally spread between the desire to learn a new sport, the desire to compete, collegiality and friendship as well as exercise and fitness.

The Legion of Rowers

94% of those surveyed were aware of the Legion of Rowers with 80% understanding that the Legion’s focus is to run Masters’ regattas and sponsor Junior rowers. Importantly 71% of those responding valued this focus.

80% are aware of the Legion focus on running masters’ regattas and sponsoring junior rowers.

71% value this focus.

A wide range of ideas were generated on how the Legion could do more.

Legion Newsletter

85% of the people surveyed would like to receive the Legion newsletter. Some commented on the increase in communication recently and some older members said a hard copy once a year would be valued.


A large number of the responses to the last question “is there anything else you would like to tell us?” added positive feedback about the Legion and the work it carries out.

Here are some examples:

  • Think you do a great job. Would like to see you get more organised re invoicing for the annual fee. Happy to help with this.
  • I appreciate effort of volunteers and enthusiasm to keep masters rowing going
  • Keep on with the fun things
  • Love getting onto the water with fellow Masters. Great coaches in our club
  • More rowers should know about the Legion and what it does
  • Beginning as a masters rower changed my life, in fitness and mental wellbeing – I’m hooked
  • Rowing has been the best experience of my life; lasting friendships, fitness and its simple enjoyability. I believe the discipline it instils and the fitness in body and mind it imparts makes rowing an invaluable early life experience. Long may it be encouraged, sustained and expanded at school level.
  • You are a wonderful organization full of wonderful people

Some further ideas were added, these have been listed in the Appendix as they were recorded.