Governor General visits Waitemata RC

Last November 2022 saw a visit by Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor General of New Zealand accompanied by her husband Dr. Richard Davis, to the Waitematā Rowing Club (established in 1883 and now located at Taipare Strand on the Te Atatu Peninsula).

The occasion was the celebration of a past member and rower of the club who joined at the turn of the 19th century then going on to become one of this country’s greatest rowers. His name was Darcy Hadfield, Winner of New Zealand’s first ever Olympic Rowing Medal at the 1920 Games held in Antwerp.

Dame Cindy was invited to unveil some of his trophies and memorabilia, then met members of the Auckland rowing community along with some local schools, local authorities plus members of the Hadfield family. There were approximately 80 guests present on a warm afternoon.

Waitemata RC, Darcy Hadfield memorial

Dame Cindy & Dr Davis being welcomed by John Lennon Club Captain

Prior to the formalities she was welcomed into the club with a Maori Powhiri. This completed, Dame Cindy was also welcomed by John Pash, Club President. John said

It is a privilege and honour for the Club for Dam Cindy to join us in the celebration of, Darcy Hadfield’s life and his achievement.

Darcy Hadfield’s Rowing Achievements

Some of which are photographed below including his Olympic Bronze Medal along some cups and his New Zealand Champion Red Caps. In addition to all this Darcy also became the World Champion Sculler for a period.

The Bronze medal, caps, a photograph of him holding the Henley Kingswood Cup, and a winners single scull from Henley were brought along by members of the Hadfield family.

These were very much appreciated as they showed details of his past that were not generally known. It helped to build a picture of the man, who continued throughout his life to help others in the sport of rowing. During his time at the club, rowing was carried out on the Waitemata Harbour from the club building at Okahu Bay in the city prior to the current location of the club in Te Atatu.

As part of the celebration, a cake with his name commemorating the event, was cut by Dame Cindy with help from Mark Hadfield.

There was interest from the schools present to continue rowing at the club and to showcase rowing to students who may be interested in taking up the sport not only for fitness and health but also for lifelong friendships formed when being in a crew or competing in regattas.

John Pash, Club President, Waitematā Rowing Club.

Darcy Hadfield memorial, Olympic rower

Powhiri was performed by Kahu Kuchel a teacher from Matipo Primary School

Waitemata RC, Darcy Hadfield, rowing olympian

Two red caps and a photo of Darcy Hadfield in his single scull

Darcy Hadfield, Waitemata RC, Olympic rower

Their Excellencies talking with Mark Hadfield on the left & guardian of the Olympic Medal and John Lennon on the right.

Waitemata Rowing club, Darcy Hadfield memorial, Olympic rower

Brian Parr Past president and Life Member of the club talking to His Excellency.

Waitemata RC, Darcy Hadfield memorial, olympic rower

Dame Cindy with two rowers from Epsom Girls Grammar School.

The Olympic Medal in its box. The Cup on the far right is from the Peace Games of 1919 in Paris Which Darcy won for the Single Sculls plus a Gold Watch, one of two only awarded at those Games.

Business House Rowing – Cognizant

Cognizant Business Crew

Business House rowing has been reignited in Auckland with organisations being able to compete for the Thomson Memorial Cup. This Cup was competed for annually from 1938 through to 1996.

The structure of the event has been adapted from Invercargill Rowing Club.

The team will compete in an erg competition on Friday 31 March 2023 where 10 people will row 200 metres each. The team will aim to achieve the greatest distance over 2000 metres.  Then the following day they will compete for the Thompson Memorial Cup in an eight doing a 500-metre rowing race on the water.

The programme is designed to provide an opportunity for organisations to participate in a 2-month rowing experience with the goal to encourage fitness, develop enthusiasm and respect for the sport of rowing, while potentially recruiting some new Masters rowers. Overall is should be fun and offer a team building experience.

Cognizant is a Technology Consultancy with a global footprint.  The company has a range of technology including data, development ops, digital, managed services and cloud based solutions.  At the beginning of February, 12 people joined the Business House rowing training programme out of St Georges Rowing Club. All of the team are total novices to rowing and do not belong to a rowing club. The two-month training is focused on teaching the basics of rowing and having fun doing something entirely different to everyday work. The team consists of IT experts, HR, Finance, Project Management, Sales and Senior Leadership.

Cognizant on the ergs

Cognizant eight outside St George Rowing Club

The training is on the water and on the ergs at St Georges Rowing Club.

  “Lorraine Anderson said to us, we have a novice competition happening, why don’t put a team together.  Sure, we said let’s give it a go and I am so glad we did.

What a fun experience it has been so far, learning the techniques, how to work as a team and most of all a lot of laughs along the way.

Sue and Brett are whipping us into shape, Judy has the difficult job of trying to keep us in line and Lorraine, Trish and Mike give up their valuable time to help us out.

The support we have received from St George’s is amazing. The encouragement and time everyone is putting in to help us succeed is next level.  

I have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone.” 

Toni McColl

“I have always loved sports of all kinds and been very active over the years. I had never tried rowing so when the opportunity came up to try masters business house rowing I was really keen to try it. It has totally blown me away how much I enjoy the experience. Being on the water and working with the team is difficult but so rewarding, and trainign on the rowing machine is really challenging yet so addictive, I totally recommend this to anyone seeking a new challenge and wanting to gain fitness in a different and low impact way.”

Dale Wheeler

Cognizant team who learned to row

“The team are loving this exciting opportunity, leaning a new skill together in a fun relaxed environment. All club members that have been part of the journey are absolutley delightful – great coaching from engagin, encouraging, gorgeous individuals – thanks for introducing us to your wonderful sport.”

Jane Indries

Ageless Improvement

As the age-groups roll by, your ability to simply rack up more miles on the river is not an option. Workout time is at a premium. Post-exercise recovery is a force to be reckoned with. So to keep getting faster with your schedule and available energy what’s an aging rower to do? 

The best strategy is to continue to get coaching and perfect your stroke

perfect bladework, quad oars, rowing oar splash symmetry

If your physical training stays on par, you will likely gain more boat speed by investing an hour in your technique versus two more hours at the gym. After all, technique improvement has no age limit. If you can pick up another meter per second by not missing water that is going to be evident when chasing down your mates next season. Incorporate technique work into your training on the water every practice so there is no need to increase your training volume – simply put more attention to your form.

In the boat focus on the following points

Protection of your joint and spine is the best resilience against injury. This means power through posture, a neutral spine favours leverage. Hinge at the hip to set body angle versus flexing through your back. Use your core. Activated glutes give you suspension during the drive and prevent collapse in the lumbar spine. Engaged lats stabilize your mid-back and shoulder blades to help sustain your swing and protect your ribs. 

Your goal is to stick to the correct sequencing of the stroke without compensation regardless of your range of motion. Maximize your stroke length through a stable body position and your rigging. Avoid extreme body positions. Perfect your bladework: entry, release, feather, square and be conscious of preserving momentum and speed and run on the recovery. Strive to keep your motions as smooth as possible and always row to your potential. 

John Thompson Memorial Gold Cup

The Cup was donated by Mrs Thompson, wife of John Thompson who was a former Club Captain of St Georges in 1898/99.

The Cup was donated in 1937 and St Georges Rowing Club executive decided that the Gold cup be competed for annually as an inter-business house rowing championship. The executive resolved “To work in full cooperation with the delegates from Auckland Rowing Club, Waitemata Rowing Club, West End Rowing, university and North Shore…

There was a precursor to the cup with a regatta held in April 1926 as an inter-house rowing among the soft goods firms of Auckland and it was met with enthusiasm, this influenced the Executive in the focus of inter-business house rowing.

The Cup was first raced in 1938 and was won by Westfield Freezing Company. For the first few years of the World War II, between 1939 and 1941 the armed forces raced for the Cup. In 1948, after War ended, the Inter-business House was revived and the Cup was awarded to the winning businesses. The Cup continued to be raced until 1994 when other forms of racing such as long-distance racing too precedence.

2023 update

St George’s Rowing Club has graciously allowed the cup to be presented to the winner of the Business Rowing Challenge to be raced on 1st April 2023.

rowing cup, business challenge regatta, Auckland rowing

John Thompson Memorial Cup

Alex Harvey receiving the Thompson Memorial Gold Cup in 1965 from ARA Secretary Hillary Jellie

Novice masters classification change 2023

The Legion of Rowers committee is pleased to announce a change to the classification for novice masters rowers.

For the 2023 season and the Legion of Rowers Regatta in May 2023 the new classification is

Novice Masters Event Classification – A Rower who is eligible for Novice Masters events is a Masters rower who has not competed in a race before 1 June 2022.

Why the change?

Since many clubs teach masters learn to row during winter, and many North Island clubs like to race at the Rotorua Blue Lakes Regatta during January, the previous rule for novices precluded these athletes competing at the Legion Regatta because they would have lost their novice status at any race they entered before Maadi.

By changing the date to 1 June, it allows both these groups of athletes to race while learning to row and also compete at the Legion Regatta.