Wakatipu under-17 boys four rowers (from left) Josh
Speight, George Bellamy, Dan Halligen and Matt Nicholson,
test the new Peter Wilding craft. Photo by Christina
The future of rowing in Wakatipu looks to be in good
Numbers at the Wakatipu Rowing Club are growing and it has
bought a new boat with funding from the Peter Wilding estate.
On Saturday, the club, based at Lake Hayes, celebrated and
named the new boat Peter Wilding.
The $40,000 boat was soon put to the test on Lake Hayes in an
unofficial race against doubles, eights and quads.
With the club having expanded its storage and clubrooms to
make way for more equipment, it is hard to imagine that in
the late '90s it went into recess due to declining numbers of
Club president Nick Bailey said after last year's Olympics
another 30 school-age rowers joined the club, although
membership has been steadily increasing since the
Evers-Swindell sisters' success in the early 2000s.
''After the Olympics, it was all on,'' Mr Bailey said.
Wakatipu High School deputy head boy and school club captain
Michael Foley (16) attributed the rising membership to New
Zealand's success and the success of the local club.
Rowing was ''very rewarding'' and also allowed a definite
social side, he said.
He became involved with rowing in 2007.
In a speech to fellow rowers, parents, supporters and
representatives of the Peter Wilding estate, Michael said in
the time he had been a member of the club, its growth had
''This has been due to the hard work and dedication of the
coaches, parents and club members and generosity of local
businesses and charitable organisations.
''On the back of the club's success last season and New
Zealand's success at the Olympic Games in rowing,the club
received a massive influx of rowers.
''A decision was made that if the club was to continue to be
competitive, a new coxed four would be required to
accommodate the larger of the school rowers.''
The club's history was recounted by Mr Bailey, who outlined
how it was at the forefront of modern development in allowing
women to participate.
''The club was very proactive in introducing women's crews to
the sport in 1970.''
Wakatipu had encouraged women members at a time when rowing
was regarded as ''a gentlemen's game''.
Despite medal-winning performances at the national
championships in the '90s, it was in that decade that the
club's membership declined and ''numbers were so low that
regattas were no longer held here, on Lake Hayes''.
However, the club began to see a surge in membership from the
2004 season, with particular interest from Wakatipu High
Now, the club has 66 school-age members and up to 25 social
or masters rowers and is looking forward to competing in the
national tournament in Twizel and its school-age members to
the Maadi Cup, to be held this year in March at Lake