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.
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.