The Omokoroa Boat Club is a community based Incorporated Society that plays a prominent part in the local community in a variety of ways.
Situated on one of the most beautiful harbours in New Zealand and occupying a unique position over the water, it has become the focal point of the Peninsula. It is very popular as a venue for local community meetings, breakfasts, lunches, meals, parties, celebrations and weddings. It is also a good place for newcomers to the locality to meet and make new friends or for existing friends to meet up over a coffee. For more info on Omokoroa please visit the Omokoroa Community Website.
The Club has a strong social programme, organising events throughout the year, such as, to name a few, jam sessions, rugby evenings, fashion workshops, quiz nights, pool competitions and darts Other entertainment includes, an annual Easter Sunday Jazz afternoon and visiting entertainers and groups such as “The Beatles Tribute Band”, “The Wild Reed Combo Band”, blues singer “Big Daddy” and comedian “Gish”. Parties are also held to celebrate special days such as St Patrick’s Day, mid-winter Christmas and Valentines’ Day and of course an afternoon best hat competition on Melbourne Cup Day. During the annual Club’s open day we hold a rowing race, a fun duck race and a colouring competition for the children.
In addition to our famous and very popular New Year’s Eve party, the Club holds two Christmas parties, one for children and one for adults. Many of these events are held under special licence.
The Club also hosts groups such as the annual Veterans’ lunch and an afternoon tea with entertainment provided, for the residents of Acacia Park Rest Home and the Friendship Club. Many other local community groups use the Club premises for meetings, Christmas parties and training sessions etc.
To promote our safe sailing policy the Club also holds regular Coastguard and First Aid courses.
SAILING AND FISHING ACTIVITIES
We currently have about 20 yacht owners in the Club, some of whom prefer to cruise rather than race. Of that number about half come and enjoy the laid back racing which encourages fun and safety, not flat out sailing at all costs.
The Club fosters safe sailing and the enjoyment of our beautiful harbour.
LEARN TO SAIL.
The “learn to sail group” comprises approximately 50 families and it regularly has up to 30 children at summer lessons, which run from October to April. The Club has 6 Optimist dinghies for beginners, four sunbursts and two Vikings. Our trainers and juniors maintain these. We also have an inflatable dinghy as well as the Club’s major rescue craft, which is available for the Fire Brigade to use if required for quick access to Matakana Island and as a back-up for the Coastguard service.
The Club also involves other youth groups in its sailing programme and the annual mid- winter rowing races. We have been fortunate to have three wins in the “Trustpower Empowering Volunteers” awards for 2005, 2007 and 2009. We are dedicated to encouraging the safe, responsible use of vessels on our harbour and passing those skills on to our young people.
FISHING. The Club holds two open fishing competitions each year, one for adults and one for juniors which enables the parents to “take a kid fishing” for a day. Most of the prizes for the winners are generously sponsored by many local businesses.
OPEN FISHING LADDER. In addition the Club holds an annual Fishing Ladder Contest for the heaviest fish caught in the five main fish species. The fish can be caught anywhere but must be by a Club member and weighed and verified on the Club scales by a committee member. This always raises a lot of interest and challenges, with the winners receiving trophies presented by the Club.
The Clubrooms are available for hire at the discretion of the committee, for further details please contact the Club Secretary.
History of the Omokoroa Boat Club
The Omokoroa Boat Club, originated from a suggestion put forward by Dick Coulston and Ira Thomas to a group of like-minded boating friends which included Ira Thomas’s family, the Barretts, the James family, George Wright and Eddie Adams. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm and the Boat Club was founded when they held their very first meeting on 7th May 1950. The group may well have also included friends who owned holiday baches in the area, mainly farmers from the Waikato region, who became members and supported the Club at weekends and during holiday periods by taking part in the many boat races and regattas. At the time, apart from the holiday homes, there were only 13 resident families on the peninsula, mostly involved in farming.
First on the agenda for the newly formed committee was to find a suitable venue for the Club to operate from, and after discussing a number of options, it was decided to form a sub-committee to investigate not only a possible site, but the cost of building a Clubhouse as well. In 1951, with
ideas and estimates now in hand, the committee spent the next two years fundraising, organising all sorts of activities, such as sports days, galas, regattas and fishing competitions, with all proceeds going toward the building fund.
During this period the Club was delighted to receive seven cups and a shield, which had been generously donated by various sponsors. The cups were presented to winners of the many regattas and the shield was presented annually for the heaviest edible fish caught during the fishing competitions. In 1953, Gerald Crapp offered the Club a temporary site on the land that is now the Domain, and on which the Club constructed a fibrolite building at a cost of two hundred pounds. This was officially opened in October 1953 and was to be used for the next ten years until the Club went into recess in 1963. As this was only a temporary arrangement, the Club began even then to make approaches to the Harbour Board and to Tauranga County Council in the quest for a permanent site.
Some of the notable personalities of the Club throughout the 1950s along with Dick Coulston, Ira Thomas and Gerald Crapp, were David Jack, Harold Roigard, Harry Allen, Bob James, Bro Benson and Warren Harrison who all served a period as Commodore. David Jack was born in 1878 in North Otago and served in the Boer war. He seemed to have a somewhat restless spirit because on returning from the war he went into farming, then auctioneering followed by a spell as a contractor. As a retiree he ended up in Omokoroa in 1949 for about a year during which time he became Commodore of the Boat Club in 1950, but moved on before he had completed a year in that position. Dick Coulston, who was a builder by trade from Hamilton, took over from David as Commodore. He soon became involved with the slipway which was owned by the Crapp family, and also served as Honorary Harbour Master until he died in 1995. Positioned as he was, living on The Esplanade, he kept an eagle eye on the harbour area from his lounge window, not only to be ready to launch his boat and rescue any boaties in trouble, but also to keep an eye on the local residents. Woe betides anyone making mischief or trying to take shells or sand from the beach!
Gerald Crapp farmed the area from the Domain almost up to the main highway until; in the early 1950s he gradually began to sub-divide small parcels of land. In approximately 1952, the land adjacent to the seashore that we now know as the Domain was vested in the Crown eventually to become part of the Queen’s chain.
Designated for recreational purposes, the Domain is now looked after by the WBOPDC. Although the transfer date of the land was not officially recorded until January 1957, it was some years after its requisition that the Council actually got round to re-claiming this tidal land by using the fill from the construction of the main Tauranga Highway. Also at this time Crapp’s Highway was re-surfaced and the name changed to Omokoroa Road, and Youngson Road was formed. Harold Roigard, an ex-serviceman, owned a dairy farm opposite what is now the Z petrol station on State Highway 2.
Harry Allen was an orchardist growing mainly tamarillos and citrus fruit. Bob James was a general engineer who lived in Cambridge but owned a holiday bach in Omokoroa which the family used regularly. Bro Benson lived in Tauranga but kept his yacht at Omokoroa, coming over whenever possible, especially at holiday times to compete in the many Boat Club regattas. Warren Harrison managed a Bond & Bond store and served the Club as treasurer.
With Peggy Smith as secretary, the fibrolite building was to become the hub, not only for meetings, but for the many hugely enjoyable activities that the Boat Club organised throughout the 1950s, including ten pin bowling, dances and dancing lessons for the teenagers. Peggy’s daughter Pam recalls the great fun they all had at the New Year’s Eve dance which was accompanied by either a wind-up gramophone or to the music of Gerald Crapp playing “Mademoiselle from Armentieres” on his squeezebox, apparently the only tune he knew how to play, having learnt it when stationed in France during the war. There was also an upright piano in the Clubhouse which was used as an accompaniment on occasions.
Organised trips to Pahoia on yachts and power boats for picnics and barbeques on the beach were also a regular feature for members of the community. Power boats were as popular then as yachts so storage lockers were built on the side of the Boat Club building for safe storage of boat motors. Fish of all species were abundant in the harbour; stories abound of catching over a hundred fish in a day from the jetty, and it was not uncommon for boat fishermen to catch between forty and fifty good snapper in one outing. Sadly that is not the case today.
To read the full history with images please read this pdf