Sunday, 27 September 2020


Whitianga Senior Citizens Club - a testament to the hard work put in by former members

Like many of the clubs in the Mercury Bay area, the Whitianga Senior Citizens Club is a testament to the hard work put in by former members.

It all started on Saturday 26 April 1986, when Nell Golten placed and advertisement in a newspaper that circulated in the Mercury Bay area, asking if anyone was interested in forming a Senior Citizens group. A good response was received.

A meeting was held on the 19 May 1986 and the first committee was elected. The convenor, Nell Golton, was the president, Doreen Williams was the secretary/treasurer and Ted Kelly, Eleanor Nickalass, Mary Maxwell and Elizabeth Mellow were the committee members. It was decided that the annual membership fee would be $2.50 with a door charge of 50 cents.

At the next meeting on 9 June 1986, Dennis Turner was elected president, in order to lighten the load on Nell Golten who had been acting as both convenor and president.

The Whitianga Town Hall was booked for two hours each Monday at a cost of $5. This excluded the use of the piano or any crockery. Percy Hinds loaned the club an indoor bowling mat and balls.

Grants were applied for from Telethon, Lottery and the Whitianga Lions Club to help the club purchase board games and other items members could enjoy on a Monday afternoon. Fundraising was a big part of the club’s activities, with a regular street stall selling donated goods.

On 6 October 1986, James Leak was elected president, a position he held for 10 years.

On 27 May 1987, $500 was invested with Waikato Savings Bank for a term of six months at an interest rate of 20 per cent. That was the beginning of the slow build up over the next 29 years of the term deposit the club now holds.

The AGM of the club on 30 May 1988 noted a membership of 136. The annual subscription was set at $3 per member.

On 8 February 1989, the club purchased two sets of indoor bowls and mats at a cost of $1,848.00. At the AGM held on 29 May 1989, it was noted that membership had increased to 178 and the club had $3,000 on investment.

Fundraising remained an important part of the club’s activities. It was noted in the minutes of the club committee’s meeting of 8 November 1995 that a “Labour Weekend stall” made a profit of $1,600.

At the AGM of 27 May 1996, Jim Leak gave his final report as president. The club had 232 paid-up members. The new president was Neil Moore and Jim Leak was asked to become the patron of the club.

In April 1997, the club had $13,000 on term deposit. At the AGM held on 20 May 2002, Jeanette Johnson was elected president. The term deposit stood at $19,702.

In 2008, Neville Stewart was elected president, Jeanette Johnson was secretary and June Stewart was treasurer. The value of the term deposit increased to $41,173.

“It is thanks to past presidents and committees that the club is where it is today,” says Adrian Telders, current president of the club. “They worked voluntarily and tirelessly so that members could arrive each Monday and enjoy an afternoon of socialising and refreshments. 

“There also were members who were not on the committee, but gladly lent a hand in setting up the hall in preparation for the afternoon activities, helped out in the kitchen and stayed behind to clear everything away when everyone has left.”

The Whitianga Senior Citizens Club is still in good health. The door charge has recently been put up to $2, as Thames-Coromandel District Council charges $58 per every Monday for use of the Whitianga Town Hall and afternoon refreshments on average cost $25. “We need more than 40 members to attend each Monday to break even,” says Adrian.

“The club is enjoyed by many residents and we run many engaging activities, including indoor bowls and a range of card and board games. Members also get to enjoy subsidised meals and free raffles on special occasions.

“We’ve seen our member numbers grow over the years and there is a lot to look forward to until the end of this year. We hold a lunch once a month and our mid-winter Christmas dinner is nearing, we have an Over 80’s celebration in September, and of course, our Christmas dinner in December.

“If there are any senior citizens out there who are looking for good company on a Monday afternoon, they are more than welcome to join us.”

Pictured: More than 40 Whitianga Senior Citizens members attended the club’s AGM on Monday 27 May. In the front are club president, Adrian Telders, and secretary, Ngaire Chaney.


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