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.

Swift Racing NZ National Beach Sprint Champs, Nelson, 2023

beach sprints, NZ Rowing, NZ Beach Sprints Champs 2023
The “Keys Family” coxed quad

Bright and early on January 3, Tahunanui Beach in Nelson was all action. Members of the Nelson Rowing Club converged on the beach from 5.30am to pitch tents, rig coastal boats, set up a buoyed course and prepare for the third edition of the Swift Racing National Beach Sprint Champs.

Over 90 Competitors signed up, representing Clubs from all over NZ*. Participants covered all stages of the rowing journey, from novices through senior school rowers, Club, Elite and Masters rowers. Some entrants had experienced Beach Sprints before, either in Nelson or (in the case of some elites) at World Champs in Wales last October. For many other entrants, this was their first foray into Beach Sprint racing. (more photos below)

Nelson turned on a perfect day – warm, lightly overcast, calm, with a small wave at the shoreline. This was the qualifying regatta for the Bali Beach Games, to be held in August. The Bali Games will include mens and womens solos, and mixed doubles. Emma Twigg qualified for Bali at the World Beach Sprint Champs last October, but there were still spots available for NZ mens’ solo and mixed double, and for all three boats from Australia.

The 2023 event was the third time the Nelson Rowing Club and Swift Racing NZ have delivered National Beach Sprint Champs. Each year has evolved, getting ever closer to World Rowing format. This year featured digital timing equipment, including ‘stop’ buttons, so that each racer had to ‘hit the buzzer’ to stop their clock. That made for some exciting finishes as runners would dive for the line.

A full complement of NZ Registered Race Officials were in attendance, helping deliver a fair and safe event. Mark Weatherall, Community Manager of Rowing NZ, spent the day on the water driving an Umpire boat. Mark also attended the aftermatch, at the Nelson Rowing Club, and presented the medals. Each year the medals are special to this event – in fact this year they were not medals at all, but pet rocks – schist river rocks, local, labelled and unique.

Special thanks to Karmyn Ingram Photography, who travelled over from Picton for the event. Karmyn has put many beautiful images up on Facebook. TVNZ published a short segment about the regatta on the 6pm news on January 3.

Th*Clubs included Avon, Shirley Boys, Canterbury RC, Cure, St Margarets, Cashmere High School, Star, Waikato, Rowing NZ, Cambridge, Wairau, Picton, Hawkes Bay, Nelson.

coastal rowing turning, coastal doubles race, New zealand rowing
Mens masters double from Star Club
Beach Sprint Rowing, Masters Rowing New Zealand,
Star Club mixed double scull
Womens Masters Quad
Womens Masters Quad composite
coastal rowing turning, coastal singles race, buoy turn coastal, NZ Coastal Rowing
Womens masters singles race start