Sunday, 20 September 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Tairua-Pauanui Sports Fishing Club named Club of the Year

Tairua-Pauanui Sports Fishing Club is celebrating being named the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council’s Club of the Year for 2020.

The award is presented annually and the club, which is based at Tairua Marina, topped the list of 55 candidates to take out the honours.

After an epic year that saw membership double, a move to new premises and an explosion in junior members, club president, Warren Maher, has credited the staff, volunteers and club members for all playing a role in the success.

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council judges acknowledged in particular how the family and community feel had been retained while growth and expansion were embraced. Club manager, Cie Robinson-Bates, said this was especially pleasing, as this had been a firm goal when making the move across the harbour earlier this year from the club’s former premises on Tui Terrace. “We knew that was what we wanted to achieve, but seeing that work out so well and so many more people being able to come and enjoy the club has been a real highlight,” she told The Informer. “It has become a real community hub.”

The award comes in the club’s 40th anniversary year, which members hope to formally mark in the coming months, hopefully with easing COVID-19 restrictions enabling a true community celebration.

Weighmaster, Wayne Barnes, said the rise in junior membership was another huge cause for celebration, particularly as it pointed to the future health of the club. “It has been awesome, they are not just signing up, they are really active members, taking part in all the competitions,” he said. “It’s phenomenal to see.”

Cie said junior membership had increased from 26 to 150 in the past year and all tournaments now have a section for juniors.

According to Warren, how the new space is helping the club to build links within the community which weren’t previously possible, is also hugely satisfying. Examples included hosting talks and events, as well as various meetings and classes. An art group now uses the clubrooms on a regular basis and the club recently partnered in hosting Tairua’s first and hopefully now annual boat show. “It’s really important to us that we operate as part of the community and we love welcoming all these groups to use our space,” warren said. “It is here for everyone.”

A team from the club is hoping to travel to the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council’s ceremony in the Bay of Islands at the end of the month to officially receive their Club of the Year award, but this will depend on COVID-19 alert level restrictions. Meanwhile, the annual prize-giving took place on Saturday, 5 September, as an invitation only event in order to keep numbers below 100. “Unfortunately, it was the only way that we could do it, but it was a great night,” said Cie. A total of 24 new line class records were set during the year.

Pictured: Junior Tairua-Pauanui Sports Fishing Club member, Charlie Bond. His 179.8kg marlin on 37kg line saw him take out a trophy haul of six awards at the club’s prize-giving recently -  John Arkle Trophy Junior Most Notable Fish, D & E Tyndale Cup for Heaviest Gamefish, K & M Millar Trophy for Heaviest Marlin, Penn Reel Cup for Most Meritorious Catch of Season, Kath Hopper Blue Marlin for Heaviest Blue Marlin and the Larsen Family Trophy for Top Junior Boy.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.