Early Sports Meetings
Under the auspices of the Waikato Land Association sports meetings were held annually for a few years from 1885, usually on Easter Monday. These meetings attracted athletes from the neighbouring land companies and competition was keen. James Shaw and George Dodd made their marks as athletes at Tauwhare and at larger meetings further afield. In 1886 over 200 people were present, including the Te Awamutu Band. Mr Walworth of the Tauwhare Temperance Hotel was praised for the excellent lunch provided. To finish the day properly, dancing was kept going in the school room until 4.00 a.m. Some of the officials who ran the meetings during the 1880's were Charles and James Shaw, Thomas Diprose, R. Speake and J. Graham.
Attendance at the 1888 Easter sports was described as fair. The club was still in existence in 1890 having a surplus of Twelve pounds in funds that year. No later records have been found.
The Tauwhare Racing Club
The Waikato Times in March 1892 announced that the Tauwhare Racing Club was intending to hold the annual race meeting on Easter Monday. Prize money would be about Seventy pounds. The club was noted for its attractive programme and was becoming more popular every year. the meetings were held on the present properties of H. Fawcett and Stokes, then farmed as one property. Mr F. W. Browning, President, and Mr R. Speake, Secretary, were efficient officials and ensured a good day's sport. How long the club existed is not known.
Individual owners over the years who have had success, have included Charles Shaw, senior, who won the Great Northern Steeplechase with "Red McGregor". Frank Windsor won the first race ever run at the Te Rapa course in 1929 with "Capstar". In 1946 W. Geddes won the Auckland Cup with his horse "Sylis" which he himself trained. This was the first year of the photo finish technique.
Athletics - J. E. Shaw
In the early 1920's one of New Zealand's outstanding sprinters was James E. Shaw, who was born in 1900 and attended Tauwhare School 1906-13. He was the eldest son of Mr David Shaw of "Barton", Tauwhare, the property still owned by Mr Harold Shaw. To quote from the Waikato Times of March 1924 - "The Matangi runner J. E. Shaw, who has been prominent in professional track events for some seasons, gave further proof of his ability at the big gathering held at Taihape recently. The majority of the best cash runners were competing. Shaw won the 100 yards from an eight yard handicap in 9.4 seconds. He won the 120 yards and the 220 yards from 16 yards. His prize money was about One hundred pounds. These striking performances show Shaw is running as well as ever. His trainer, Mr D. McKenzie, also deserves praise".
Later in the same year the Times announced an invitation to Shaw to attend the top line Stawell Gift, which event was to be held in Victoria at Easter 1925. However, he did not go as he was about to become a father.
Mr Don McKenzie earlier mentioned as his trainer, was the last Manager of the Tauwhare Dairy Factory which closed in 1917. He then worked at the Glaxo Factory, Matangi. A later coach was Mr Philip te Kata, father of Mrs Mary Hapi.
Mr Tom Brown, and later Mr Bullock Webster, used to bring packs of hounds down from Pakuranga, Auckland, in the early days of Waikato hunting.
Mr Wynn Brown, son of the former, became the first Master of the Waikato Hunt in 1904, and continued as such for many years. In the same year, kennels for the hounds were built on his property "Ngaheke" at Fencourt Cambridge. About 1910 hunt meetings began in the Tauwhare district, on farms owned at various times by Coles, Johns, Stokes, Neil, Jones, Dingle and Southcombe. Mr Ned Brown carried on the family interest by succeeding his father as Master.
In 1919 the Times reported that the Waikato Hunt had met at Mr F. Windsor's corner, and that a great crowd had gathered there. The 30 riders included such well-known Tauwhare names as F. Windsor on Arawa, J. Shaw, D. Shaw, N. Pope, N. Deaville, Miss Esme Ferris, Miss A Neil and Miss Amie Windsor. Those "motoring" included Mr and Mrs A. Ramsay, Mr and Mrs Alex Ramsay, Mrs Windsor, Mrs Adlington (then living where Mickells are now), Mr and Mrs Platt, Mr and Mrs Dingle. The visitors were entertained right royally by Mr and Mrs Andrew Ramsay at afternoon tea.
In the early 1920's the Tauwhare Rugby Club was formed, and played in the Cambridge Rugby Sub-union competitions. Frank Windsor was President and Coach over a long period. Dunbar Moon, the quarry foreman was Secretary.
In its peak period the club fielded three teams - senior, junior and third grade. When numbers dropped, the team merged with Matangi. Jack Reese played for this team 1933-37 and the coach was Alec McClennan. Vic Lynds used to carry the team on the back of his truck.
A Wrestling Club was formed on the 19th March 1935. Mr Harry Kirkman, then the blacksmith, was the first President, and J. Reese, Secretary. There were five Vice-Presidents-H. Reese, J. Spencer, R. Ranstead, A. Pretty, V. Lynds. The first mat was made from some of Mr V. Chitty's wool. During those depression years wool wasn't worth much. In 1937 a new mat made of felt was bought at a cost of Twenty one pounds seven shillings and six pence.
In 1949 the Tauwhare Club had the second highest amateur membership in New Zealand outside of the main centres - 39 members. Wrestling was a popular sport in those days with Lofty Blomfield, George Walker, Dean Detton and numerous baddies to add colour to Gordon Hutter's ringside commentaries.
Peter McKenzie of Tauwhare won the New Zealand lightweight title in 1948 and was runner- up in 1949. He was chosen to compete in the 1950 Empire Games, but illness kept him away. He was a Coach, as were Len and Bob Lye and Jack Pope. Selwyn Pope, son of Esme and Walter, was another Tauwhare wrestler of note. He was a referee at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch and managed teams travelling to India, America and Australia, before his sudden death in 1979 at the early age of 48.
Arthur Newton did much for the Club as a Coach, while in Tauwhare. After he left, the Club declined, finally closing in 1960.
Cricket as a local sporting past-time began in the 1930's. In 1936, the arrival of Mr Charles Day, the new Headmaster, and a cricket enthusiast, gave the game a boost. Two teams were fielded, Captained by Don Stevens and Jack Spencer, who came from Taranaki in 1933 to buy the farm he still lives on. Both Captains hailed from England, the home of the game. Russell Sattrup recalls the bowlers as being Day, Spencer and Fred Hansen. Day was the local Bradman and Larwood personified in one. Ordinary pitches weren't fast enough for these demon bowlers, so a concrete one was laid down in Massey's paddock, just across the road from the present telephone exchange. Friendly games were played against neighbouring teams such as Eureka, Motumaoho, and as far away as Thames.
After Mr Day's departure in 1948, cricket lapsed for a number of years until about 1970 when another group of enthusiasts got together. Since then a few social games have been played each autumn on the school field.
The Tauwhare Sports Club
This organisation was similar to others that filled a need in rural communities, particularly during the war years when petrol rationing kept people closer to home. It was an annual event, held usually in March, and attracted outside athletes, sheaf tossers and participants in horse events, various competitions and novelties.
The sports began about 1933 in Massey's corner paddock where cricket was also played. In 1939 the venue was changed toW. W. Pope's front paddock.
During the war, farmers killed meat which was sold to townsfolk who came out in droves to get it without coupons. No meat inspection fees were paid as Meat Inspectors weren't consulted. The profits went to patriotic funds. Up to 13 pigs plus Iambs, were killed at the height of the illicit trade.
Norman Ferris was Bar Manager and he recalls a "Police Inspector" in plain clothes, ordering him to close the Bar as the Committee had omitted as usual to get a permit. However, the official was later found to be bogus.
Hamilton athletes who competed for several years were Cooper and the Taylor twins. Local runners who did well were Jim, Ron and Tom Shaw. Horse events were held in a separate paddock with Mr Harry Clarkin often assisting as judge or announcer. Mrs M. Connell was in charge of dancing competitions for a number of years. Shovelling metal, tractor driving, go- kart races, slow bike races and a baby show were included in the programme for 1961.
In 1962 it was decided to move the sports meeting from Pope's paddock to the School grounds, parking for cars to be on Mr A. Bullick's paddock opposite. In 1964 weekly sports meetings were begun on Wednesday evenings. At a Committee meeting in February 1967, George Dingle reported that the Matangi Combined Sports Centre ground had been bought and paid for. The Club and Tauwhare residents had given money to assist in the purchase. In October of the same year the new grounds were in playing order and the controlling Committee wanted as many Clubs as possible to use them. The Tauwhare Club decided to stay put in the meantime owing to a lack of facilities at the new grounds.
Four representatives of the Matangi Athletic Club met the Committee in October 1969 and urged the Tauwhare Sports Club to move to the new ground, but the Committee decided to refer the matter to the Annual General Meeting of the 15th October 1969. After lengthy discussion this meeting agreed to amalgamation with the Matangi Athletic Club. Three Trustees, G. Dingle, B. Lamb and A. O'Neill were elected to hold the Tauwhare Sports Club's assets in trust. These amounted to $200.00 in Government Stock, $200.00 held at the Waikato Savings Bank, and pipe frames for a canvas canopy.
The Dingles were very involved with the Sports Club for many years, George being President from 1956-66 and Anne, Secretary 1965-69.
The Indoor Bowling Club began on the 17th March 1954 when Bruce Kissling was elected President. The annual subscription was fixed at One pound. Newstead and Eureka Clubs offered the use of equipment for an evening and this offer was accepted.
To finance the Club, bonds were issued in One pound units, and admission charged at one shilling and sixpence per night. Increased membership made more equipment necessary so an art union and dance were held, and an evening was spent gambling (gamboling?) in Bullick's woolshed.
The first patron, Tom Coles, gave money for a cup which became the singles trophy. The President gave a cup for rinks competition.
The first Annual General Meeting in March 1955 recorded membership at 56, and that five complete sets of bowling equipment had been bought. The bank balance was a credit of Fourteen pounds nineteen shillings and Ninety nine pounds was owing to debenture holders. These were re-imbursed the following year.
Thirty years of existence underlines the popularity of the game in Tauwhare, and recent additions to the hall mean it is played in comfort.
Several members have taken part in Waikato and national championships over the years and one, Bruce McClennan, was national singles champion in 1963.
C.Y.M. Harrier Club
The C.Y.M. (Chritian Youth Movement) Harrier Club has had an association with the Tauwhare district since its formation in 1937.
The Club was formed a year after the Hamilton Harriers Club and drew several of its early members from the youth of Tauwhare. Members from the district in those early days included Russell Sattrup, Bob Potts, Lindsay Potts, Ivan Bennett, Selwyn Pope, Vic Pope, Alec Shaw, Peter Shaw.
To foster friendship and competition with other Clubs, the C.Y.M. Club organised the first open cross-country "Tauwhare Cup" races in 1949. The event has been organised every year since and attracts 400 to 500 competitors plus the usual supporters and spectators. Over the years, the actual course for the event has changed several times. Some properties the event has been run on include Bullicks, Nicholls, Bryants, Potts, Sattrups, Coles.
In the early 1960's the Club ran a social and dance in the hall after the "Cup".
A Solo Effort in Sport
From 1972- 77 Ivan Pizzini, a Tauwhare resident, held the New Zealand and North Island Championship titles for Unlimited Racing Runabout Class (Speedboats).