There would have few of those that attended the first meeting of the Club establishing the sport of Harriers in the Wairarapa who would have thought that the seed they planted on that Wednesday evening May 15, 1912 would grow so strong and for so long.
There can be no doubt that looking back from the hindsight of now over 100 years, that the Club has contributed greatly to the quality of life in the Wairarapa; not just in the pleasure, fun and happiness that harriers brings to the runner, but also the many other attributes inherent in the social contact and learning of a good club.
For the Masterton Harrier Club has not just been a good club; at times, and frequently so, it has been a great club.
That is not a statement lightly made. The evidence is in this history and as the writers have researched and remembered, feelings of awe at what has been achieved are frequent.
Through the Club’s portals have traveled many excellent runners of national and international class. But arguably, it has been in the Club’s organizing and teaching that the greatest legacy has benefited the Wairarapa. Club officials have sought to develop not just the running skills of its members, but notably the people skills that make a good citizen and good community.
These records seek to present as much as we can of the past 100 years. We are gifted with the endeavors of our forbears that produced both 50th and 75th book reunion books. Both are contained in this web record. This record is a work in progress with additional articles being written or planned. Talk to Carol MacDonald if you have anything you would like to share.
So, sit back, browse, and enjoy. It has been a great journey so far.
History of Cycling Section
It all began in 1893, on 23 February, the year in which women in New Zealand got to vote. On that day the first meeting of the Wairarapa Amateur Athletic & Cycling Club was held at the Masterton Oval. A one-mile bicycle race was on the programme and drizzling rain greeted the competitors.
Anniversary Day 1906 saw more handicapped cycling events over one mile, one & half miles and two miles. By 1912 the Masterton Cycling Club had a membership of 400 and 35 ladies were elected as new members. In the 1920s the five Oakly brothers acquitted themselves against local and international riders. Races were held on grass circuits using fixed wheels. The world wars took its toll of club members.
In 1950 the Wellington provincial Grass Track Cycling championships brought together seven clubs and 55 riders to compete over one mile. Hard track racing began in the 1950s and New Zealand grass track cycling records were set at Masterton – three miles in 6min 46s; five miles in 11min 29s.
Road races had been held as early as 1927 although many roads at the time were still unsealed comprising gravel or clay. In the 1950s road racing became established. In August 1959 in a 43 mile race from Masterton to Featherston and return three Masterton riders took the honours. The following month a Masterton rider won the New Zealand Junior 50 mile road championships held in Auckland. Grass track racing continued with large crowds present and spills aplenty.
Can you imagine a winter road race from Masterton to the Rimutaka summit and return in atrocious southerly weather? Tino Tabak, off on scratch, was the winner. In the 1960s Brian Lambert’s name started appearing firstly as a boy entrant then by winning road and grass events.
These days the cycling section of Athletics & Cycling Masterton offers races through summer and winter. Well attended events cover all ages and abilities. The past, portrayed on this page, has provided a sound future for cycling in Wairarapa.
Based on Carry them shoulder high: Hero’s of athletics and cycling, Terence J Cairns, Masterton