Tennis Club

Booking and Access

Members of the public obtain a key from the Whangapoua Store, on payment of a playing fee and a deposit. The deposit is returned in exchange for the key.
Bookings are made on a blackboard at the courts.

Of the two courts, the one farthest from the street is for the exclusive use of members and the one closest to the street is available for member and public use.
The club currently consists of 40 family life members, each of whom has a key to the courts.

Please respect this informal system which works well throughout most of the year especially during the busy Christmas holiday period.

History of Tennis at Whangapoua Beach

The Whangapoua tennis courts were originally the brainchild of Michael Caughey. Michael's family was one of the early bach owners at Whangapoua dating from the time of the initial subdivision in the 1960's.

The idea was first floated in 1986 and the Whangapoua Beach Ratepayers Association established a fund for the project in 1987.

The first to donate to the fund was Ralph Rabone. Michael organised a tennis court development committee in 1991 comprising himself, his brother Tony, and Geoff Hardy, with assistance from John Snell, Stu Barclay and Hamish Bell. Richard Lane joined the Committee subsequently.

The existing site on McMahon Ave was chosen because it was a recreation reserve, acquired for that purpose in 1990 by the Thames-Coromandel District Council from Zim and Win Mareroa.

The Council filled and leveled the site and it was decided to construct the courts using volunteer labour where possible, to save cost. The Committee studied the tennis court systems of neighbouring settlements on the peninsula, and called upon all of their contacts to secure building materials and expertise as economically as possible.

Local residents and bach owners were invited to subscribe for family life memberships of $1,000 each to help fund the project, and approximately 20 families took up the invitation over 1992 and 1993.

The David Johnstone Trust and the Whangapoua Beach Ratepayers Association each donated $5,000, the Council donated $2,000 (plus the $13,000 cost of leveling and filling the site), and a further $15,000 was raised from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board thanks to a submission prepared by Geoff Hardy.

This enabled construction to proceed in 1995. A retaining wall was built, the concrete pad was laid, the netting was installed, the surface painted and the lines marked with the help of a good turnout of local volunteers under the supervision of Te Rerenga farmer John Parr.

Later improvements to the courts included the erection of a gazebo with spectator seating and the planting of a small grove of native trees around the south west perimeter, under the supervision of Jeff and Mike Yates. Geoff Hardy represented the committee in the Council hearings for resource consent for the neighbouring Anarake subdivision, as a result of which the native planting area was tidied up, the open culvert running past the courts was piped and covered over, and the tennis court drain was connected to the Anarake system.

Access to the courts initially relied on a card key system but this was later replaced with a padlock and keys kindly supplied by Ian and Jessica Given.

The Council designated the land as recreational reserve for tennis court purposes in 1994. The Council then wished to lease the land to the local tennis club, and Geoff Hardy represented the club in negotiations with them in 1995.

There were a number of aspects of the Council's standard lease that were inappropriate to the Whangapoua courts (particularly the fact that the courts had been constructed by the members at their own expense, rather than by the Council) so the lease proposal was abandoned.

There are currently no formal arrangements in place with the Council concerning the use and maintenance of the facilities, other than the conditions imposed by the Council's resource consent.

The Committee established an annual mixed doubles tournament for the first time in early 1997 and this has become a permanent fixture, steadily growing in popularity.

The tournament was initially organised by Tony Caughey and Tracey Andrews but more recently by Rick and Angela Hurley. It has traditionally been a one day event with a children's tournament held on the following day, but steadily increasing membership may soon require the main competition to be expanded to a two day event.

The competition trophies are keenly contested. The original trophies were a plastic plate for the winner of those eliminated in the first round, and the matching plastic cup for the winners of the premier event.

The plate retains its historic charm but the cup has been replaced by a silver trophy donated by Rick & Angela Hurley. An additional cup, to be awarded to be the best-performed junior in the tournament, was subsequently donated by Mike & Pip Yates. Frequent winners of the premier event in the past have included Mike Caughey and Pru Crossan, and more recently Pip and Jamie Yates. Jamie has been New Zealand's top ranked junior player.

Of the two courts, the one farthest from the street is for the exclusive use of members and the one closest to the street is available for member and public use.

The club currently consists of 40 family life members, each of whom has a key to the courts. Members of the public obtain a key from the local store, on payment of a playing fee and a deposit.

The deposit is returned in exchange for the key. Bookings are made on a blackboard at the courts. This informal system works well throughout most of the year except the busy Christmas holiday period, when some abuse of the booking system and theft of the store key has unfortunately occurred.

Family life memberships remain at the original price of $1,000 and are still available. Contact Geoff Hardy on geoff@madisonhardy.com.

The Club has a small fund set aside for ongoing maintenance of the courts and possible improvements such as astroturf in the future. The Club is currently unincorporated but draft rules have been prepared in anticipation of an incorporated society being formed in the near future.

The Committee welcomes enquiries from anyone willing to serve on the committee or who can assist in some other way such as organising the annual tournament, administering the club, or providing services or materials.