Veteran curler on home ice

Edwin Harley with the essentials for a good game of curling. Photo: Linda Robertson
Edwin Harley with the essentials for a good game of curling. Photo: Linda Robertson
Meet Edwin Harley, New Zealand’s longest-standing competitive curler.

The 80-year-old played in his 31st New Zealand Masters Games yesterday, having competed every year since the inaugural games in 1992.

Harley said although he had been ‘‘a bit younger and a bit more accurate’’ then, he was still having ‘‘a blast’’ playing the game he has loved for 67 years.

‘‘We had a lot of fun — a win, a draw and two losses — which is about what I expected with two brand new curlers.’’

Prior to yesterday’s games, Harley delivered a quick 20-minute teaching session to his fellow team members before also giving a ‘‘bit of tuition’’ to the other team during the game.

‘‘Then they went and beat us, so it must have worked,’’ he laughed.

‘‘It feels wonderful playing on the rink that I helped bring to fruition all those years ago. I’ve loved playing here. I had tears in my eyes that day it opened. It’s one of those special moments in life.’’

Harley’s name is synonymous with curling in New Zealand; he has been a player, coach and New Zealand selector during his six decades of involvement in the sport since first playing competitively at age 13 for his father’s team at St Bathans.

He played for New Zealand at the Pacific Curling Championships from 1991-93 and for the New Zealand seniors in 2003.

A national curling selector for 13 years, he was also coach-manager of New Zealand teams to internationals events from 1993 to 2002 and came back to do the job again in 2006 — that year he got the New Zealand team to the Turin Winter Olympics in Italy.

His other achievements included helping to establish an international ice rink in Dunedin with his ice partner Neil Gamble after the Dunedin Curling Club took ownership of the Big Chill ice rink in 1994. When it closed in 2002, the club raised funds to turn the Dunedin Stadium into an international ice rink.

The $4.5million Dunedin Ice Stadium was opened in 2006 and an additional $840,000 was raised for the mezzanine viewing floor, which opened in time for the World Seniors Curling Championships that Harley helped to bring to Dunedin.

‘‘I’m one of the lucky ones — playing for more than 67 years. I’m 80 now, but I’ll keep going as long as I can.’’

He will be back on the ice today with his team, the Taieri Swede Munchers.

Add a Comment