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Part History of the Warkworth Gamefish Club

by a founding member, Graeme Maker (Grumpy)

The Warkworth Gamefish Club (WWGFC) was started in 1987 from an idea after four guys (Rod Jones, Al Mason, Graeme Maker, and Don Scotts) hired a game boat named ‘Eldonna’ to fish in the Whangaroa One Base Tournament.
“On the way home it was agreed that if we fished out of Warkworth and saw nothing and caught nothing it would be exactly the same as what we had just done at Whangaroa”.

An exploratory meeting was held at the then called Grumpys bar at Walton Park Motel where approximately 50 people turned up with the wish to formalise the starting of the WWGFC. A committee was formed with Graeme Maker as Chairman. The first few months was taken up in organising stationery, trophies (which are all contested for today), Club shirts, and most importantly, our first tournament – the Grumpy’s One base held at Great Barrier out of the Last Resort Lodge on Kaikoura Island. The name ‘Grumpy’s’ came about by the name of the restaurant sponsoring the main trophy for the tournament.

A weigh station was donated by Manukau Trucks and the necessary sign board was made.

This tournament went from strength to strength before the Club moved to Pah Farm (Kawau Island) from which time the contest was ‘based’ from boats fishing it, as it is today. The best year for numbers was when it was in the capable hands of Rod Jones and there were over 40 boats. At this time the tournament was then moved to the Boating Club at Fitzroy, Great Barrier. However the bar and atmosphere at the Last Resort in my opinion took a lot of beating with many long hours and sore heads in the morning.

The Club also ran the 10kg Tournament generally from the wharf at Sandspit, with the late Gordon Brown officiating as M.C and weighmaster. During these early years, mainly through the assistance of Duncan Harvey and Don Heydon, we were able to have the Club affiliated to the NZ Big Game Fishing Council. Our so called clubrooms or headquarters moved after a couple of years from Grumpy’s to the backroom of the Bridgehouse, and Friday nights became well attended Club nights, as well as the annual Kids Christmas Party with Santa being ably performed by Graham Whitmore.

As always, Club boats took on the challenge and fished other club tournaments with great success with boats like the Lady Barbara and Violator leading the way. Most of the original Clubs members are still with the Club today. However after Walton Park Motel was sold, as with the Bridgehouse, a new era evolved with the moving of the Clubs headquarters to Pah Farm.

Second Part History

by Wayne Brown (Brownie), Past Club President.

The Club established itself at Pah Farm in 1997 thanks to Mike Hobson who owned Pah Farm. Trophy cabinets were made and filled. Trophies and plaques were able to be put up on the walls as well as mounted fish. It made us feel that we finally had a base and a place we could call our home.

Competitions were run, and with the facilities that Pah Farm had (bar, restaurant, and accommodation) a great time was had by all. With Jeff Romeril at the helm the Club progressed steadily through the next few years with AGM’s, prize giving’s and working bees. All a great success, and the overnight accommodation used on a regular basis.

We were hoping that the new owner would be willing to let us keep on using the facilities that were there, but alas that was not to be, with irreconcilable differences occurring. It was decided to take four boats over to Pah Farm and collect all our trophies, mounts, and gantry and vacate the premises.

The Club at this stage was in limbo with no fixed abode, not even a place to have our executive meetings. We were using the RSA in Warkworth, Whangaparoa and Wellsford. Nevertheless the competitions still kept happening thanks to the people involved.
Graham Whitmore and Phil Brooker were kind enough to let us store all our trophies, mounts, and other gear in their workshop, and we even were able to have quite a few meetings there.

In 2005 the executive received a letter from the Sandspit Yacht Club wanting to know if we were interested in setting up a discussion group to see if WWGFC would like to come under the umbrella of the SYC as a division.

Meetings were held and it went to both clubs AGM’s. Whereupon with agreement of both clubs a 2 year trial period would commence.
This two years was up at the end AGM 2008. I personally would like to the two clubs interact together still with their own identity but under the umbrella of Sandspit Yacht Club.

Wayne Brown (Brownie)

Update as at May 2012

WWGFC is operating very successfully as a division of SYC and we are enjoying the venue and camaraderie of the fellow seafarers that make up SYC.

WWGFC have transferred its capital reserves to SYC for an unspecified future building project for the betterment of all SYC divisions, as resolved at an AGM around 6 years ago. It has been communicated to the SYC Executive that the WWGFC Executive recommends we await the completion of the pending marina to best prioritise any additions or alterations to the existing building.

WWGFC operates an independent Tournament Account, thus ‘insulating’ SYC from any WWGFC tournaments adversely affected by weather or other factors that might expose SYC financially. WWGFC continues to run tournaments at an extremely modest profit level, providing a small return to help improve tournaments and to cover maintenance costs.

Our tournaments have and always will be FOR the anglers, with a focus on the best returns (quality and number of prizes) rather than ‘fund raising’.

You gotta ask yourself – why is it a ‘club’? What does a club do? It is FOR the members BY the members.

So let’s see you at our next tournament.

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