Anyone who has been involved in sport will know about the prizegiving ceremonies held by the clubs at the end of each season. Those fortunate enough to have the prowess and sporting abilities in their chosen field were deemed worthy of receiving awards in the form of trophies, cups or certificates.

Yet, not all presentations awarded at these events resulted in the usual silverware expected and one artefact held in the Whangārei Museum is a prime example.

The ornately decorated yet slightly tarnished teapot presented to Mrs E O Weaver by members of the Whangārei Bowling Club during their 1901-1902 season. Photo / Supplied
The ornately decorated yet slightly tarnished teapot presented to Mrs E O Weaver by members of the Whangārei Bowling Club during their 1901-1902 season. Photo / Supplied

A trophy is a tangible reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit, often awarded for sporting events and many historic trophies, shields and other sporting memorabilia are held in the museum's social history collection.

Yet it was among the domestic items and tableware that an ornately decorated yet slightly tarnished teapot was spotted which had been presented to Mrs E O Weaver by members of the Whangārei Bowling Club during their 1901-1902 season.

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Although the teapot was bestowed by a sports club, the note which accompanied the object when acquired by the museum, would indicate it was awarded to Mrs Weaver not for sporting accomplishments, but in recognition of "many kindnesses to the Bowling Club".

A note with the teapot indicates it was awarded to Mrs Weaver not for sporting accomplishments, but in recognition of
A note with the teapot indicates it was awarded to Mrs Weaver not for sporting accomplishments, but in recognition of "many kindnesses to the Bowling Club". Photo / Supplied

Mrs E O Weaver was born Christina Anne McInnes in 1863, her parents settled at Kaurihohore, where she was married to Edmund Ormond Weaver on June 4, 1884, by Rev Killen.

Between 1886 and 1897 the couple had five children, Lilian, Edmond, Malcolm, Mary and Christina.

At the time of their marriage, Weavers owned Valley Farm, and it was on this property that Whangārei Bowling Club was first established after a suitable site for a bowling green was chosen at the west end of Vinery Lane, with Edmund being a founding member.

Construction of the green was entrusted to Messrs Weaver and Jones and once the grounds and pavilion were completed, Whangārei Bowling Club was declared officially open on November 14, 1901.

A closeup of the engraving on the teapot. Photo / Supplied
A closeup of the engraving on the teapot. Photo / Supplied

When promoting the club's Grand Opening Gala, it was reported that "bowls is in fact a sign of civilisation, and an eminently humanising game" and invitations were extended to bowling clubs from Auckland to Tauranga to join local members in the historic sporting occasion.

Although bowling was the primary concern, often patrons and visiting clubs would be rewarded with refreshments and afternoon tea in the pavilion.

Perhaps it was Mrs Weaver's generous home cooking and ample supply of assorted fare entrusted to members partners that earned her the gifted Sheffield teapot.

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She was renowned for her culinary skills and proved worthy of being the judge in the Domestic Sciences section at numerous shows, school fetes and galas.

Her talent in the kitchen also resulted in awards for sponge and fruit cakes, jellies, preserved fruit and bread baking.

Another photo shows bowling club members in action at the Whangārei Bowling Club (from a Private collection). Photo / Supplied
Another photo shows bowling club members in action at the Whangārei Bowling Club (from a Private collection). Photo / Supplied

Perchance it was Mrs Weaver's "Champion Scones" that were such a hit which resulted in the presentation at the end of the Whangārei Bowling Club's first season in 1902.

Probably we may never know but the embossed Victorian teapot, passed through generations to Ethelwina Cora Weaver and donated by Mr Montgomery to the museum in 1989, is a material reminder of the appreciation for 'deeds served' by a champion herself.