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Some Interesting Occurrences in Early Auckland: City and Provinces

Chapter 14 — Sports And Pastimes

Chapter 14
Sports And Pastimes

These were not very plentiful or varied in the beginning of Auckland. Being an important seaport, it was natural for its sports to be mainly aquatic. The regatta held each year on the anniversary of the foundation of the city was the great event. Auckland' yachts with their white wings were famous prizewinners. Builders such as Logan and Baileys were known far and wide. Famous yachts, such as “Matangi” (the Breeze) built by R. Logan for C. B. Stone in 1886, and then the largest yacht in New Zealand — she was afterwards owned by John Wiseman and Harry Wilson; “Tawera” (the Morning Star) built by R. Logan about 1884 and afterwards owned by Harry Horton; the “Volunteer” brought from Sydney by T. Henderson about 1893, and at that time the largest yacht in New Zealand; the “Viking” built by C. Bailey for Bloomfield Bros.; the “Ivonne” built by Logan for Archi. Buchanan; the “Muritai” (sea breeze) owned by Mr. Lushington; the “Spray” brought from Dunedin by Captain (afterwards Sir) Abraham Gibbs Bart; and I must mention the “Thetis”, an iron yacht in Auckland owned by Reginald Masefield.

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Swimming sports were held in nearly every bay, and it came to be said that Auckland boys were born web–footed. Fishing, including spearing flatfish, was very popular. In the evenings there were magic lantern shows, the circus, concerts, dances, etc. In the summer strawberry gardens were a favourite resort. Visitors brought their own boxes and did their own picking. Weighing was done and payment made at the office. In one garden you had the privilege of picking as many as you could eat — the only charge was 1s. for entrance. These gardens were mostly at Devonport. Football and cricket and horse–racing also had numerous followers.