Greens finally back in business

By Peter de Graaf


Almost two years after its greens and clubrooms were destroyed by Cyclone Wilma, Kawakawa Bowling Club is finally back in business.

The tropical cyclone dumped 280mm of rain on the Bay of Islands on January 28-29, 2011, sending a wall of water through Moerewa and Kawakawa.

Homes, marae and roads were flooded, but Kawakawa Bowling Club was perhaps the worst hit of all.

Floating logs smashed through the doors of the clubroom while a metre-deep torrent destroyed the interior.

The greens were gouged out and swept away; even the carpark asphalt was picked up and dumped downstream.

The clubroom was rebuilt and reopened in October 2011, but restoring the uninsured greens proved a greater challenge.

The club was hit with another setback in August this year when the greens were flooded once again, just weeks before the planned September opening.

So December 16 was a joyful day in Kawakawa when the bowling green was finally re-opened by club president Larrie Taylor and Carien Edwards, representing club patron Ian McDonald who was in Whangarei Hospital.

"Kitty Jack" and the first bowl were delivered by life members Cindy Stuart and Valerie Black, marking the end of 23 months of hard graft, scrimping and saving.

It was a moment so electric and emotional more than a few club members were seen to shed a tear.

The opening was followed by the club's men's and women's championship fours with three teams apiece.

The finals will be completed early in the New Year.

Mr McDonald congratulated Mr Taylor and his small band of workers for their efforts returning the clubroom and greens to use. Help had also come from the Kawakawa community, businesses, sponsors and bowling clubs around the country.

"May the spirit of the Kawakawa Bowling Club carry on as before with good fellowship, great hospitality and great sportsmanship," he said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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