Governor General visits Waitemata RC

Dame Cindy Kiro , Waitemata Rowing Club

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.

A 70km row from Awaroa to Nelson

A 70km row from Awaroa to Nelson celebrated two of the Nelson rowing community’s ‘remarkable men’ over the weekend. 

The Golden Edge Nelson Rowing Club hosted the first Myles Sellers Memorial Row on Saturday in honour of Nelson man Myles Sellers, who died last year. 

Myles’ wife Margarette says the day was emotional, but she and her two daughters are so thankful for the support of the community. She says Myles had a long involvement in the club as a rower going back to his school days and had represented the club at a national level. In more recent times he had reconnected with past rowing friends and had been coaching at the club. “For Myles, it was a way of encouraging people to do a sport that they perhaps thought that they couldn’t do, and giving back to the rowing community.” 

Nelson Rowing Club president Grant Wilson says Myles was an outstanding member of the Nelson Rowing Club.

“Rowing was in Myles’ blood. His great uncle was Darcy Hadfield, the first ever NZ Olympic medallist.”

Darcy won the bronze medal in the single scull in 1920 and subsequently went on to hold the Professional World Sculling Championship title.

“When Darcy was a schoolboy growing up at Awaroa, he would often row a 14ft clinker dinghy across 35 miles (56km) of Tasman Bay for a day out in Nelson, sparking the inspiration for Saturday’s event,” Grant says. “The rowing club saw this as a very fitting way to remember Myles by following in Darcy’s footsteps and starting the event from Darcy’s home in Awaroa.” 

The memorial row followed the coastline from Wilsons Abel Tasman Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa with accessible crew changeovers at Kaiteriteri, Ruby Bay, Rabbit Island and then back to the Nelson Rowing Club. Two five-crew coastal rowing boats completed the journey with safety support boats. Margarette rowed two of the legs including heading back into Nelson from Rabbit Island. 

Grant says coastal rowing is a new part of the sport and the Coastal Rowing Revolution opens up new rowing experiences in the Te Tau Ihu region. The boats are wider and more stable than flat-water rowing boats which make it easier to learn how to row. It is also attracting past members back into the sport. 

“The club is thankful for the support of Myles’ family, members, past members and the team at Wilson’s Abel Tasman that enabled this event to happen,” Grant says. 

The rowing club is holding more events in the region and welcomes new members to experience the sport.

coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club
Wildlife alongside the rowers
coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club
Coastal views
rowing coastal, nelson rowing club
Moving away from the beach
coastal rowing nz, Nelson Rowing Club
Getting boated
coastal rowing new zealand, Nelson Rowing Club
The squad launch in the dawn light.
Coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club,
Last one in’s a sissy!