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Monday, 22 April 2019 12:00 pm

Club bowled over by community support

Dec 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Sport


GREEN FEVER: Open day at the Brooklyn Bowling Club.

SIX MONTHS ago, Brooklyn Bowling Club was on its knees – just 10 members left.

Today there are more than 100, and it’s all down to an injection of community spirit led by a couple of local men who saw the club as a place for families.

“Obviously, it’s a social thing,” says Blair Mainwaring.

“The club is great, with the sports fields down below,” he says. “It’s a place where kids can play and people can come together.”

Blair (old enough “to know better”) and his friend Matthew Roche (30-something) got involved with the 120-year-old club six months ago, when it was in a bad way, says Matthew.

Matthew and Blair, with other Brooklyn locals, have rallied around the club.

lizThey started a recruitment drive, mostly by word of mouth, that the club was looking for new members and wanted to revamp itself as a centre for the community.

“Mostly families who are keen to be involved in the sense of community,” says Matthew.

“They see the club is an asset for the community, and they didn’t want to see it go to waste, so they’ve got involved. It’s not just about cheap beer.”

The club also needed help renovating the facilities.

There is plenty to build on: the hall is full of club history, with cabinets crammed with trophies.

trophyMatthew: “We’ve had one guy, a young bloke about your age, coming in and helping with the grounds work, just after his own job, all for free. Just to get us up and running again.”

The community spirit was obvious at the club’s first open day last weekend, with people from all over the area taking part. Everything for the day was donated by local businesses

Members of Bowls New Zealand were on hand to offer bowling lessons to the uninitiated, and the club loaned bowls and mats.

There was a strong family sense to the day, with a bouncy castle, sausage sizzle and a mini football tournament. Inside there was face painting and craft tables set up for the kids.

ukeleleThere was even music, with local ukulele sensation Not Strictly PC (above) playing to an enthusiastic crowd of about 150.

The club has more events planned to rally the community in future. It will start hosting fish and chip Fridays, where families can get the usual Friday night takeaways and bring them to the club to eat together with other young families.

Club member Lorraine Monahan says the kids can play together on the grounds outside and the adults can enjoy a quiet drink and the company inside the hall.

The change seems to be working for the club, with Lorraine saying the premises are booked for work functions every Thursday and Friday evening until Christmas.


THIRSTY BUSINESS: Lorraine Monahan behind the bar at the refurbished club.

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is a student at Whitireia journalism school. He has worked in television and radio and hopes to further his experience in radio.
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