Got a good mind for maths-why not try Scrabble?

Despite popular belief, president of the thrivingTauranga Scrabble Club, Barbara Dunn, says it's often mathematicians rather than wordsmiths that make the best Scrabble players.

"It's the mathematicians that are the best players because they can see the strategies," she says.

The game also offers players a real mental work-out.


"It's really important as we get older to keep our brains going," Barbara says.

The club, which has about 50 members and a weekly turn-out of 30-plus keen players, is the oldest in New Zealand, started in 1976. Noel Maisey put an advertisementin the local paper, attracting three or four keen Scrabblers, and the club grew from there, celebrating its ruby anniversary last year.These days there are one or two tournaments across New Zealand each month and Kiwis who are competitive at international level.

"It's really taken off in the 40 years," Barbara says.

The daytime timeslot appeals to retirees, or those who work shifts, but players of all ages are welcome.

Barbara says it's a greattime for new members to join, with a new round robin competition to begin after the club's AGM this month.

Club mornings include three games of Scrabble, with players graded from beginner to experienced, morning tea and a chat.

"We are a competitive club but we have people of different grades playing at different levels," she says.

The club is also a great place to foster new friendships, both in Tauranga and attournaments around the country. Players are ranked nationally once they have competed at three tournaments.


Barbara joined the club in 2003 after moving toTauranga and missing her regular Scrabble challenges with a former neighbour in Hawke's Bay.

"I have learnt so much in the time since I joined," she says. While New Zealand's top player has historically been male, the country's top Scrabble ranks feature both men and women.

When: Every Tuesday from 8.50am to midday.
Where: Tauranga Bridge Club, Ngatai Rd, Tauranga.
Cost: $2.50 per week and an annual $13 sub.
Or Barbara on (07) 544 8372