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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



Trials of Early Enthusiasts

A few enthusiasts obtained permission in 1894 from Captain Tucker, Lady Carroll and others to play over their properties on Waikanae. A course of nine holes was ultimately obtained. It ran through very rough paddocks—in some places along a swathe cut in the scrub and, in others, along a passageway made through fern. Ralph Bruce (then approaching his 80th year and a resident of Colchester, England) claimed (Weekly News, 15/12/1948) that he and R. J. Reynolds were the pioneers. Some of the early players had to be content with clubs fashioned from manuka limbs. Many of the balls used for practice were also of the home-made variety, and included old composition cricket balls reduced to the required size.

In 1909, when some of the paddocks could no longer be used, R. J. Reynolds provided a playing area on “Sandown” free of charge. The Sandown links were opened on 17 April, 1909. Early in 1912 the right to use other properties was also obtained, and four additional holes were laid out on the western side of Lytton Road. “These holes,” commented a Gisborne Times writer, “are blind holes, and the course is a straight and narrow path between forests of fern. A slice or a pull spells disaster and, usually, the price of a new ball.” The present links at Awapuni were opened on 3 May, 1913. In its original state the area was a rough field overgrown with briars and fern.

Poverty Bay Golf Club champions:

Men—1895, G. T. Bull; 1896, A. Cuthbert; 1897, G. T. Bull; 1898, A. Cuthbert; 1899, G. T. Bull; 1900, J. H. Bull; 1901, G. T. Bull; 1902, J. H. Bull; 1903–8, Pare Keiha; 1909, G. W. Willock; 1910, G. M. Dodgshun; 1911, G. W. Willock; 1912–15, G. M. Dodgshun; 1916–19, First Great War; 1920–23, G. W. Willock; 1924, G. M. Dodgshun; 1925, P. Egan; 1926, N. H. Bull; 1927, H. C. Wells; 1928, N. H. Bull; 1929–30, G. M. Dodgshun; 1931, W. D. Barker; 1932, F. Fenwick; 1933, W. D. Barker; 1934, D. B. Barry; 1935, W. D. Barker; 1936–7–8, F. Fenwick; 1939–40, E. S. Toogood; 1941–45, World War No. 2; 1946, F. Fenwick; 1947–48–49, E. S. Toogood.

Women—1902, Mrs. W. B. Willock; 1903, Mrs. H. A. King; 1904–5, Miss N. Rutledge; 1906, Mrs. F. T. Morgan; 1907, Miss F. K. Adams; 1908–9–10, Miss E. Sweet; 1911–15, Miss D. V. Bull; 1916, Miss F. K. Adams; 1917, Mrs. L. T. Burnard; 1918–19, First Great War; 1920, Miss K. Booth; 1921, Miss F. K. Adams; 1922, Miss L. King; 1923, Miss Kettle; 1924, Miss King; 1925, Miss P. O'Meara; 1926, Mrs. C. F. Scott; 1927, Miss M. Bull; 1928, Mrs. L. T. Burnard; 1929, Mrs. D. E. Chrisp; 1930, Mrs. S. M. Wilson; 1931, Miss M. Bull; 1932, Miss W. Barns-Graham; 1933, Mrs. L. T. Burnard; 1934, Mrs. R. F. Hutchinson; 1935, Mrs. R. McFadyen; 1936–7–8, Mrs. D. E. Chrisp; 1939, Mrs. F. A. McFadyen; 1940, Mrs. R. F. Hutchinson; 1941, Mrs. G. J. O. Booth; 1942–3–4–5, World War No. 2; 1946, Mrs. R. F. Hutchinson; 1947, Mrs. R. G. Robb; 1948, Mrs. J. Hutchinson; 1949, Miss B. Ballantyne.

Annual Amateur Open Tournament:

Men—1931–32, N. W. Parker; 1933, W. D. Barker; 1934, D. B. Barry; 1935, W. D. Barker; 1936, W. K. Andrews; 1937, D. B. Barry; 1938, W. D. Barker; 1939, H. D. Brinsden; 1940, A. Gibbs; 1941–45, war years; 1946, F. Fenwick; 1947–48, S. Toogood; 1949, J. T. Dodgshun.

Ladies—1935, Mrs. F. A. McFadyen; 1936–37–38, Mrs. D. E. Chrisp; 1939, Mrs. A. N. Slater; 1940, Mrs. G. J. O. Booth; 1941, Mrs. R. F. Hutchinson; 1942–45, war years; 1946, Mrs. F. A. McFadyen; 1947, Miss M. Jefferd; 1948, Mrs. R. F. Hutchinson; 1949, Mrs. C. F. Connor.

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The Turanganui Golf Club, whose members play on the Tuoi links at Te Hapara, was incorporated in 1936. It was founded by Mr. Pare Keiha, who, with his family, owned the property. No rent was required to be paid for the first four years, and, since then, only an amount sufficient to meet the rates. In 1948 the club had 70 members, of whom 30 were ladies. Club champions:

Ladies—1937, Mrs. T. Keelan; 1938–39, Mrs. R. Bullivant; 1940–41–42–43, Mrs. R. G. Robb; 1944, Mrs. M. Kaua; 1945, Mrs. E. Stratum; 1946, Mrs. R. G. Robb; 1947–48, Mrs. M. Kaua. 1949, Mrs. L. Ngata.

Men—1937–38, R. Keiha; 1939–40, P. Kaua; 1941, R. W. Halbert; 1942, D. Ross; 1943, R. W. Halbert; 1944–45, C. Pere; 1946–47–48 P. Kaua. 1949, B. Corbett.

The Gisborne Park Golf Club secured the right to establish links on the Park Domain in time for the 1936 season. Club champions:

Men—1936, G. L. Winter; 1937, T. Pere; 1938, P. H. Dow; 1939, F. W. Dobbie; 1940, P. H. Dow; 1941, L. Lunken; 1942, no contest; 1943, H. F. Alen and A. D. Tarr (tie); 1944, A. D. Tarr; 1945, P. H. Dow; 1946, T. Atkins; 1947–48–49, R. Muir.

Ladies—1936–37–38, Mrs. E. E. Winter; 1939, Mrs. H. Tureia; 1940, Mrs. G. Brown; 1941, Miss M. Haisman; 1942, no contest; 1943–44, Miss M. Haisman; 1945, Mrs. G. Brown; 1946–47, Miss M. Haisman; 1948, Miss J. Byres; 1949, Mrs. T. Te Pairi.

Sport in Other Forms

Archery: The Gisborne Archery Club was formed in 1943. In an international contest promoted by the National Archery Association of U.S.A. in 1946, W. J. Burton (Gisborne) made 806, out of a possible 810 points, in one round—equalling the world's record. His average of 801.6 over five rounds in 1947 was an American record.

Badminton: Introduced into Gisborne in 1925 by G. W. Langhorne, a member of the High School teaching staff, who had been a player both in India and in England. Clubs in various district centres followed. In 1948 there were 80 players in Gisborne.

Basketball: In April, 1907, Mrs. J. C. Jamieson (the wife of a visiting clergyman) taught the members of St Andrew's Y.W. Bible Class. Teams were formed in 1909 by C. R. Webster, the first secretary of the Gisborne Y.M.C.A. The game soon became a popular school sport. On 23 September, 1927, the Poverty Bay Basketball Association was formed, with Mrs. W. A. Bowie as president, and Miss A. Perry as secretary. Mrs. G. H. Sceats has been a stalwart in the movement since its inception. In 1933 the national titles were contested in Gisborne. There were 65 teams in the district in 1948.

Clay Bird and Live Bird Shooting: The Poverty Bay Gun Club was formed in 1881, with A. C. Arthur as president. Strong clubs followed in several district centres, and, later, one was established at Tokomaru Bay. At Hamilton, in July, 1947, E. K. F. Cameron (Bushmere) won the £200 national clay bird shoot (190 entrants) and the £130 live bird shoot (170 competitors). His dual win constituted a record. The sparrow shooting title had previously been won by S. G. Glennie, of Rere.

Coursing: The Gisborne Coursing Club was formed in June, 1907. Dr. J. C. Collins was chairman, and Cuth. Morse secretary. A portion of the Park Racecourse was leased and enclosed with 5,000 yards of wire-netting. There were 52 runs at a meeting held in June, 1909, and 23 of the hares were killed. Prior to the next meeting (April, 1910) some hares got away through a large hole which an opponent of the sport cut in the fence. Twenty-three runs were held, and 18 of the hares were killed. R. Thelwall (the S.P.C.A. inspector) described the sport as “cruel and revolting in the extreme,” and the Press also roundly condemned it. The club then ceased to function.

Croquet: As early as 1885 both men and women engaged in this pastime on one of the Kaiti tennis courts. In more recent years, the bowling clubs placed greens at the disposal of players as long as they could be spared. The Poverty Bay Croquet Club (formed on 27/1/1927) used a Poverty Bay Bowling Club green until 1946, when it had to be given up, and the club disbanded. Formed on 24/10/1933, the Gisborne Croquet Club, which was, at first, provided with greens by the Gisborne Bowling Club, moved, in 1946, to the municipal croquet greens in Rutene Road. The Turanga Croquet Club (formed in January, 1936) first played on a green adjacent to the McRae Bath, but, later, also moved to the municipal greens. In April, 1949, the Barry Memorial Croquet Club, which will have its green on Barry Park, was established.

Cycling: “Penny-farthings,” with a front wheel 54 inches high and a back wheel a foot in height, made their appearance in Gisborne in 1883. The first locally-owned “safety”—it had solid tyres—was obtained by T. J. Adair in 1891. A Gisborne Bicycling Club was formed in 1892, and outings were held regularly. Road races were a special feature of the activities of the Britannia Cycling Club, which was formed in 1906. The 1921 Timaru to Christchurch road race (112 miles) was won by Allan Sutton, of Gisborne, his time being second fastest.

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Flying: The Gisborne Aero Club (formed on 9 May, 1929, with J. G. Nolan as chairman), rented planes from the Hawke's Bay-East Coast Aero Club and used a paddock provided by R. C. Fisken. Captain “Tiny” White was the instructor. Its activities led to the construction of Darton Field, which, originally, comprised only 110 acres, the cost (£5,000) being borne by Gisborne Borough (four-sevenths), Cook County (two-sevenths) and Waikohu County (one-seventh). During the Second World War the field was required by the R.N.Z.A.F., and it was extended to 236 acres. No. 30 Squadron, and Servicing Unit, which served in the Bougainville area, was trained there. When the Gisborne club was resuscitated in 1946 a Tiger Moth was obtained from the State at a cost of £450. [It crashed on Pouawa Beach on 30 January, 1949, and the pilot (Keith White, aged 19 years) was assisted out of it by H. G. Nield and his son.] A second plane was procured in December, 1947.

The value of having a plane stationed at Gisborne was demonstrated in March. 1947, when Theresa Tangney (aged 21 years), a teacher at Manutahi Native District High School, became “bushed” on Mount Hikurangi. Search parties went out next day, but without success. On the following day, whilst a search was being conducted from the air as well as on the ground, she emerged from the bush zone and cooee'd to the manager of Horehore station and some musterers.

A very gallant action on the part of M. L. (Pat) Holden on 11 November, 1943, earned for him the George Medal (the highest award for bravery that can be bestowed upon a civilian). Whilst a R.N.Z.A.F. plane was passing over his property at Pouawa it struck a building, crashed, and burst into flames. The pilot was F.O. Roland H. Browne, married, of Parnell, and he had for a companion F.O. Douglas J. Nilsson, of Hawke's Bay. Mr. Holden rushed over to the plane, and, at great personal risk, succeeded in extricating F.O. Nilsson, who was seriously injured and burned. The spread of the flames prevented him from also releasing F.O. Browne. Mr. Holden, as well as F.O. Nilsson, required hospital treatment.

Hockey: First played in Poverty Bay in the late 1890's, hockey was, at the outset, favoured most by young women—Maoris as well as Europeans. Miss F. McCredie did much to popularise the game in Gisborne, as did Miss A. Bradley at Te Arai. The Poverty Bay Women's Hockey Association affiliated with the N.Z.W.H.A. on 29 April, 1909. Coached by O. R. Olsen, the Poverty Bay ladies' “reps.” inflicted the only defeat (5 goals to nil) which the 1914 English team suffered in New Zealand. Poverty Bay side: J. Ferguson (captain), M. Gallagher, L. Fanning, M. Fromm, M. and R. Malcolm, I. Parker, W. East, F. Hill, I. Pearce and M. Ferguson. Poverty Bay won the Izard Cup in 1915, 1918, 1920 and 1922, were runners-up with Wellington in 1921, and gained second place in 1924. National tourneys were held at Gisborne in 1920, 1925, 1929, 1935 and 1938. In August, 1936, Poverty Bay defeated Fiji by 2 goals to nil. Women's hockey in Poverty Bay and Hawke's Bay was greatly assisted by a gift by Lady Carroll of a handsome shield.

Formed on 16 May, 1902, the Poverty Bay Men's Hockey Association affiliated with the N.Z.H.A. on 24 April, 1903. In 1922 Poverty Bay won the Nordon Cup (open to minor associations) from Wairarapa, and, after withstanding two challenges, was placed in “A” grade. The 1935 All India team beat Poverty Bay by 11 goals to nil. In 1938 the Prince of Manavadar's Indian team was to have met Poverty Bay, hut the field was under water. Poverty Bay defeated Australia in 1948 by 4 goals to 3.

Hunting: In Poverty Bay this sport was first engaged in on 9 July, 1892, at Lavenham. H. Mason (who had formed the Hawke's Bay Hunt Club) acted as master, and H. Hassell filled the role of whip. Recalling the initial meet, Mr. Hassell (Weekly News, 13/8/1947) said: “I have vivid recollections of the first meet in Poverty Bay … As the ground was greasy, falls in the slush and mud came thick and fast … Between 400 and 500 riders turned out on the most amazing variety of horseflesh one would ever see in a lifetime!” Races were first held by the club on 15 August, 1907, and its first registered meeting took place on 28 October, 1916. From its inception the Hunt Club ball has proved a popular social fixture.

Polo: The Poverty Bay Polo Club (formed in March, 1892) was sponsored by Herbert N. Watson. During the first season Poverty Bay beat an Auckland team, which brought its own ponies by steamer, in a contest at Te Arai. The teams were: Auckland—Dr. A. C. Purchas (captain), W. R. Bloomfield, Dr. Forbes and H. Wynyard; Poverty Bay—S. Williamson (captain), G. Bradley, Harley Evans and H. N. Watson. In 1893 Poverty Bay defeated Hawke's Bay at “Flaxmere.” Hawke's Bay was represented by: Major-General (later Sir Andrew) Russell (captain), D. Hill, E. Tanner and Harold Russell, and Poverty Bay by H. N. Watson (captain), G. Bradley, Oliver Evans and Harley Evans. The journey overland from Poverty Bay with the ponies occupied between three and four days each way; in places there was only a bridle track. Without suffering a single loss, Te Arai—Frank, Oliver, Hellier and Harley Evans—lifted the junior national cup at Hastings in 1898. In March, 1911, at Gisborne, Hawke's Bay (holders) beat Mangaheia in a Saville Cup match, 5–4. The coveted trophy was won by Mangaheia at Palmerston North in 1913 by a team comprising R. Reynolds, G. M. Reynolds, R. R. Sherratt and J. R. Murphy. A Poverty Bay team consisting of P. H. Sherratt, T. Sherratt, R. R. Sherratt and J. R. Murphy won the cup at Christchurch in 1914.

Winners of the A. H. Wallis Championship Cup:

1907: E. M. Monckton, T. Sherratt, R. R. Sherratt, O. Monckton. 1908: E. M. Monckton, T. Sherratt, R. R. Sherratt, J. R. Murphy. 1909: M. R. Murphy, G. M. Reynolds, R. Reynolds, R. C. Murphy. 1910–11: E. M. Monckton, T. Sherratt, R. R. Sherratt, J. R. Murphy. 1912–13: P. H. Sherratt, T. Sherratt, R. R. Sherratt, J. R. page 453 Murphy. 1921; P. H. Sherratt, G. M. Reynolds, R. R. Sherratt, J. R. Murphy. 1922: G. Gaddum, A. Kirkpatrick, R. K. Murphy, J. R. Murphy. 1923: T. Holden, E. R. Black, J. Machell, J. R. Murphy. 1924: G. Morrison, M. L. Holden, J. Machell, A. Kirkpatrick. 1925: L. Jex-Blake, M. L. Holden, J. Machell, A. Kirkpatrick. 1927: C. Tietjen, M. L. Holden, J. Jobson, P. H. Sherratt. 1928: D. Cameron, M. L. Holden, J. Jobson, E. T. Brosnahan. (1935: B. McKenzie, T. Gaddum, W. Hale, A. Dods. 1936: B. McKenzie, T. Gaddum, G. Gregory, A. Kirkpatrick. 1938: G. Gaddum, T. Gaddum, B. McKenzie, A. Kirkpatrick. 1939: G. Gaddum, T. Gaddum, R. Reynolds, W. Sherratt. 1940: R. Sherratt, R. Reynolds, B. McKenzie, W. Sherratt.

Note.—Two polo fatalities have occurred in Poverty Bay. On Boxing Day, 1913, during a practice game between Poverty Bay and Mangaheia at Matawhero, Ralph Reynolds (aged 32 years), a Mangaheia player, lost his life. This was the first polo-fatality in New Zealand. Owing to a collision his pony fell and rolled upon him, the pummel of the saddle fracturing his skull. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Reynolds, of “Sandown.” John Machell, well known in Gisborne business circles, met with a fatal accident, also as a result of a collision, during a game at Bushmere on 26 February, 1926.

Rifle Shooting: The Gisborne Rifle Club was promoted by Captain G. J. Winter in October, 1872. Matches were held regularly with members of the Armed Constabulary and the settlers. Robert Thelwall, of Gisborne, was selected as one of the six leading marksmen in the North Island to compete at the N.Z.R.A. championships at Dunedin in 1873. During the tryouts at Gisborne (19/9/1873), over ranges of 150 yards, 200 yards and 300 yards (5 shots at each range), he made the perfect score of 15 “bullseyes.” Going on, he amazed the official supervisor by adding two more “bulls” and three “centres,” making a total score of 77 points for 20 shots. The London Illustrated News described him as “New Zealand's Shooting Star!” However, he failed badly at Dunedin.

Formed in 1902, the Poverty Bay Rifle Association did much to maintain interest in rifle shooting during the last few years of the Volunteer movement. Colonel G. J. Winter was president and Lieutenant C. H. Evans hon. secretary. In 1907 Lance-corporal R. Rait won the Kynoch Cup at Trentham, and he and Corporal Breingan became the first Poverty Bay riflemen to secure inclusion in the “Fifty” to shoot off for the Champion Belt.

F. J. Jeune became the Gisborne Defence Rifle Club's champion shot in 1921 and still (1949) retains that position. At Trentham in 1927 he came fifth for the Ballinger Belt and won the Kynoch Cup and the Ross Carbine Belt. Among over 1,000 competitors for the King's Prize at the Empiad at Sydney in 1938 he came eighty-fourth his aggregate being only 10 points below that of the winner. He won the King's Prize at Trentham in 1950.

Robert Thelwall (born at Farndon, Cheshire, in 1840) migrated to Napier in 1866 and moved to Poverty Bay in 1867. He served against the Te Kooti rebels. For some years he was an overseer on “Maraetaha,” then he farmed on his own account, and, later, had a butchery in Gisborne. In 1927 he claimed to be the oldest remaining pioneer. He died on 26 May, 1932.

Rinking: Introduced into Gisborne in November, 1876, by Mr. Burland, of Napier, roller skating was revived when the City Rink was built in the 1880's. Several mishaps occurred at the outset of a revival in 1910. A young woman, a girl and a young man each broke a wrist, a youth fractured a foot, a lad had both bones in his forearm broken, and another young man broke his arm.

Rowing: The Gisborne Rowing Club (formed in August, 1874) built its first shed opposite the site now occupied by the Harbour Board Offices. Captain Porter arranged with the natives for the use of the site. W. King (who donated the timber) was the first president, and C. D. Berry the first captain. The earliest plant consisted of two second-hand boats procured from Auckland. With the aid of debentures (most of which were surrendered) the present club house, which superseded a smaller shed on the same site, was built in 1894 during W. B. Miller's lengthy term) as captain. The Poverty Bay Rowing Club dates its establishment from August, 1886, but, in fact, it came into existence in 1884, with W. J. Fox as captain. Its present boatshed was built in 1909. A junior club, the Turanganui Rowing Club (sponsored by the Gisborne Rowing Club), had its shed a little higher up the Taruheru River than the senior club's. Its boats, however, were more suitable for use as pleasure craft. When a flood in 1904 carried away the shed and boats its members joined the Gisborne Club.

The first contest between Gisborne Rowing Club and Napier Rowing Club was held in 1876, and was won by Napier. C. D. Berry stroked for Gisborne, which used a racing gig which had just come to hand from Melbourne. Gisborne competed without success against Napier and The Spit in 1879. Its representatives were: E. H. Pavitt (st.), J. Carroll (3), Epiha Parau (2) and W. Ratcliffe (bow). In April, 1885, Gisborne (E. H. Pavitt, E. F. Sage, E. A. Pavitt and Barnes) lost to Napier Rowing Club, and Poverty Bay (J. Reed, J. Lee, W. Jones and W. J. Fox) defeated Union Rowing Club.

Formed in March, 1909, the Uawa Rowing Club, which had 60 members, held interchanges of visits with the Gisborne clubs, but its career was interrupted in 1925. It was resuscitated in March, 1948.

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East Coast Rowing Association (formed in 1932 with jurisdiction over the clubs in Hawke's Bay, Wairoa, Poverty Bay and East Coast). 1 Presidency: A. Kirk, 1932.

Scouting: This pastime was sponsored in Gisborne early in 1909 by E. W. Forrest. The pioneer troop used Captain Cumming's stable for a meeting place. By the end of 1909 the Excelsior, Y.M.C.A., Methodist and St. Andrew's Troops had been formed, and the Y.M.C.A. Rooms were the headquarters. The first camps were held at Waikohu and on Kaiti Beach in January, 1910. Many changes have since taken place. In 1949 there were Scout groups in Gisborne as under: Warneford, previously Y.M.C.A. (formed in 1925), Takitimu Sea Scouts (1939), Mangapapa (1914), Tainui Sea Scouts, previously the Marist Troop, and also Wesley (1947), Manutuke (1949), and Norwood (a Cub pack). Wairoa, Waikaremoana, Nuhaka and Ruatoria also had troops. District Commissioners: L. T. Redward (1909–21), H. A. King (1921–25), Dr. W. A. Bowie (1925–39), V. S. Caulton (1939–44). Short terms as Assistant Commissioners were served by A. Blackburn and T. D. Baker. In 1944 Gisborne district became a Scout County, with V. S. Caulton as County Commissioner. A. Blackburn took over the position in 1946. Scoutmaster G. H. B. Foote holds the Medal of Merit.

The Takitimu Sea Scouts earned a Medal for Gallantry in 1946 by pluckily going to the assistance of the occupants of a launch which was in difficulties at the entrance to the Turanganui River. In 1947, at Tauranga, and in 1949, at Nelson, they tied for first place in the Jellicoe Trident national competitions. Three Poverty Bay lads—Scouter Keith Redstone and Scouts John Hebenton and Eric Faulkner—were members of the New Zealand contingent which attended the International Jamboree in France in 1947. Much of the money to meet their expenses (about £945) was raised by the boys and their friends by means of shop days, dances, cinema evenings, bottle drives, etc., and the balance by public subscriptions. Steps were taken in 1947 to obtain a Scout Hall for Gisborne. An Air Force building in Chalmers Road was bought, dismantled and re-erected by the Scouts (under the supervision of A. L. W. Martin) in Carnarvon Street. Public subscriptions ran into over £900, and the J. N. Williams Trust provided a subsidy of £383.

Soccer: The inaugural match in Poverty Bay, Taruheru v. Rangers, was played on 2 April, 1909, at Taruheru. On 10 April, 1910, the Poverty Bay Football Association was formed. In the presence of 5,000 onlookers, the Chinese Universities team met Poverty Bay in a scoreless contest on 25 July, 1924. Phil. Roots, of Gisborne, captained the New Zealand side in the second test against the visitors. In July, 1927, a Canadian team defeated Poverty Bay by 8 goals to nil. Five Poverty Bay players—E. Bridge, A. Waugh, H. Easton, M. Callaghan and J. T. Hill—were members of the Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay team which was beaten by an English amateur team at Napier on 27 May, 1937, by 12 goals to nil. J. T. Hill represented Poverty Bay as goalkeeper from 1922 till 1944.

Swimming: Competitive swimming did not prove popular in Gisborne until the Central School Bath (built in 1908) became available for tourneys. A club formed in 1882 had been resuscitated from time to time. The Gisborne Amateur Surf and Swimming Club (formed in 1919) induced several noted swimmers to visit the town. Bill Harris (the Hawaiian champion), who was rated as the second fastest white swimmer in the world, came along in 1921. Miss Pauline Hoeft (New Zealand and a world champion), who paid a visit in 1922, beat the best local male swimmers over 150 yards, W. Bousfield getting second place and E. T. Chrisp finishing third. Another famous visitor was Annette Kellerman, of Australia. When Gisborne triumphed in the Swain Memorial Cup relay contest in 1928, the time (4 min. 23 4–5 secs.) constituted a Hawke's Bay provincial record. Gisborne was represented by: E. McGerty, E. T. Chrisp, W. E. Maude and D. W. McKeague. In 1931 Gisborne (N. Maddock, R. Colebourne, D. W. McKeague and J. Miller) won in 4 min. 17 secs., creating a fresh record.

On 30 September, 1925, the Gisborne ratepayers, by 1,050 votes to 178, refused to sanction the raising of a loan to provide a municipal tepid pool. Undeterred, the sponsors of the movement merely dropped the idea that the bath should be equipped with a heating apparatus. By means of a Queen Carnival (which was won by Miss Valda Zachariah and which produced £960) and further appeals to the public, £1,800 was raised. The committee comprised: F. Tolerton, J. S. Wauchop, E. T. Chrisp, C. E. Brown, O. Prince, O. G. Thornton, H. F. Forster, D. W. Coleman, C. Adair (hon. treasurer) and Mrs. A. Beer (hon. secretary). In 1930, as there was considerable unemployment in the town, the fund was handed over to the borough authorities to enable the bath to be built as a State-subsidised relief work. Financial aid was also given by the R.S.A. Named in honour of Alexander McRae (of Reay station), who had presented the site, but who had died on 22 July, 1925, at the great age of 95 years, the pool, which is 100 feet by 36 feet, was opened on 4 April, 1931.

Trotting: The first trotting meeting in Gisborne was held on Tucker's Paddock on 28 October, 1891, under the presidency of Captain Tucker. On 6 November, 1912, the Poverty Bay. Trotting Club was granted registration. Dr. C. F. Scott was president, and A. T. Webb secretary. The stakes for 1913 totalled only £70. On the occasion of the first tote meeting on 2 July, 1915, the stakes totalled £330 and the turnover was £5,889. Whispering Willie (one of the contestants) became a champion trotter. The club ceased to function after 1926. Peterwah (imported from U.S.A. by R. C. Fisken and driven by his owner) won the August Handicap of £1,000 (two miles) at Addington in 1928 in the record time of 4 min. 23 4–5 secs.

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Wrestling: There was a mild wrestling boom in Gisborne in April, 1907, when Harry Pearce, Moana Paratene, Tawa Porter and Constable Tait engaged in a series of contests. In January, 1910, Porter lasted only 35 seconds against the famous wrestler Hackenschmidt. A contest between Paratene and Harry Groth for the New Zealand title in April, 1910, ended after the first fall, which was awarded to the former, because Groth refused to continue unless another referee was appointed. The Gisborne Wrestling Association was formed in 1931 by T. P. Smale and Reg. Humphreys.

Yachting: The Gisborne Boat and Yacht Club held its first contests in December, 1874, over a course around the wool ship Queen Bee; its career extended over only a few years. In December, 1946, the sport was revived by the Gisborne Yacht Club in the form of contests between small craft.