The Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Bill
Heathwaite as the Club Historian. Bill will be compiling stories
and photos about the MCC as we approach our 100th
Anniversary. If you can assist Bill by providing source material it
would be most appreciated. Bill can be reached on
Check out some pictures displayed in the Image Galleries
click Historical Archive Section.
If you can provide some background to the pictures Bill would be
delighted to hear from you. Email Bill or come down to the Club on
a Thursday night and have a chat.
A Short History......
The inaugural meeting of the Milford Cruising Club (Inc) was
held in Mr Gee's Tearooms on 11th December 1923. An enthusiastic
group met and the first Commodore was appointed, Mr Warbrick, who
won the election on the toss of a coin! The Club bought an old
house for fifty pounds in 1924 and moved it to the Wairau
The present clubhouse was built on site in 1970 and has had
three additions to it since then. The more recent, a major
renovation of the clubhouse, being completed in 1994. We have held
several major yachting championships in the 1980's and 90's with
the 470's and Lasers, and the World Europe Class Championships in
The Club has come a long way in over 70 years and nowadays
boasts its own excellent slipway, spread over two sections backing
onto Wairau Estuary. The membership currently stands at
approximately 400. In the 1960's, the emphasis was on centreboard
dinghies, with up to 60 boats racing off Castor Bay Beach Every
weekend. As the junior members got older, they bought or built
keelers and so in the 1970's the club moved to larger yachts and
family cruising passage races, which are still popular today.
The Club has two Divisions--one that caters for the keener types
that wish to use extras and the other for those that don't. We also
have a large membership of launch owners, without whom the yachting
division would be lost for mark boats. After most races, everyone
heads ashore for a B. B. Q. and also to resail the race.
The Club is open seven nights a week, so feel free to drop in
any night. Thursday and Friday are the most popular, with the club
restaurant operating on the Thursday nights. The Club boasts
fine facilities in the clubhouse and has sky TV, pool competitions
and Social Darts in the Sports Bar most Thursday nights. Indoor
Bowls can be played in the Lounge, after Meals are finished.
Milford Cruising Club (Inc) prides itself on its achievements in
its first 75 plus years and looks forward to achieving as much in
the next 75.
A story of Progress
By Warren Stirling. (Vice Patron, Life Member, and
I was indeed fortunate to have been an active
member of the Milford Cruising during those exciting years of
growth from 1965 onwards. Prior to then much of the clubs efforts
were directed mainly in keeping the Wairau creek and estuary open
for the few boat owners and members that could find a space amongst
the mangroves, where they could dig with spade and shovel, a
shallow hole for their boats to sit undamaged during the receding
Mud everywhere,rickety jetties and planked
walk ways wandering through the mangroves for access. Looking back
the general scene could only be descibed as an eyesore. Certainly
no asset in the popular seaside suburb of Milford. The Club did
have in those times a great spirit of co-operation between members.
After all there were not many of them, and much needed to be
Working bees were often called and members
would turn up with shovels at short notice to help dig the mud from
the last flash flood that blocked channels and berth areas.It was
decided to build a groyne to keep the sand out of the main channel.
After much hard work,sweat and blood this was finally accomplished,
only to be wrecked during the next Easterly gale.
The groyne had been constructed on the pile
and plank system and could not be anchored down securely enough, to
resist the heavy seas. Some years later this was corrected with
concrete constuction. Large concrete blocks were barged from city
side and put in place.
Remember,all this by voluntary labour and
much of the materials donated. One member,Eric Webster,who was
elected Commodore at frequent intervals, must be considered as the
father of the club. During the depression years, from 1929 to 1935
he somehow managed to keep the club afloat.
He was a tireless worker in the estuary,a
believer in leading by example, frequently seen by members up to
his knees in mud wielding a shovel. A man of great humour,once seen
chasing a shag with a flounder, much to large to swallow. He
finally caught the bird snatched the flounder and proudly displayed
his breakfast to all. He was also a man of great forsight. Eric
negotiated and arranged the purchase for the Club of the original
The slipway has been since that time, the
Clubs greatest asset, we own it land and all. A slipway of course
is any boat clubs greatest asset. Appreciated by members in
servicing their boats and also as an asset for security when bank
loans are required. When the old house which the club had
purchased, and had moved from Takapuna to the estuary for our
Clubrooms, was condemned by the Takapuna City Council, the
committee was faced with a problem. Where were the funds to come
from for a new structure?
The Council had offered a new site in place
of our old section, which by this time had been allocated to the
Sea Scouts. The committee were set on eventually having a new
clubrooms on Milford beach. The opportunity of this had been lost
when the club declined the offer of the old Pirate ship, for a few
hundred pounds. The Council were dead against any buildings on the
beach and offered the club a site on the new reclamation at
Commodore Parry Road. One can only imagine the problems with close
This I believe was a deliberate council ploy
to force the club into accepting a sight near the Sea Scouts.
During a meeting with several council members, including the Mayor
at the Milford Reserve, I asked the mayor that if we requested the
sight next to the Sea Scouts, would the council allocate it to us?
He nodded his head, hence our present location.
The club received grants from the Lottery
Board and the Takapuna City council made a generous grant of over
$4,000. These grants, our own meagre savings and with an A.N.Z
overdraft(branch Manager a member), we were ready for quotes. Well
known and popular member, G.Dawson constructed our new clubrooms
completed in two stages.
The first meeting in the new Clubrooms was a
committee meeting held on the 23 rd June 1970. From the time of
inauguration,development of the Wairau Estuary as a boat harbour
was always high on the list of club committee endeavours. Over the
years many members gave up hours of valuable business time
attending meetings with the Takapuna City Council, drafting
correspondence to the Marine Dept. lobbying M.P's and pacifying
irate local members of the Citizen and Ratepayers Assn. These
spokespersons for the local residents were against any form of
change in the area.
They called in the services of a well known
North Shore Professor on ecological grounds and they jealously
guarded the old condemned Milford footbridge. The removal of this
bridge was vital for the introduction of yachts to the estuary,
which in turn would bring about a new lease of life in the Clubs
activities. Meeting after meeting was held between both parties and
the Council, this went on for years with Council support swaying
from one group to the other. It was a very frustrating time and
full credit to those loyal Club battlers who stuck to their guns,
finally winning out.
Thanks must go to our honoury solicitor at
that time, Mr C. McLaren. Special thanks must go to Mr Arnold
Hayman. Arnold attended many meetings with the Council and the
Castor Bay Ratepayers Assn., with myself,he was a co-opted member
of the Takapuna City Council Parks and Reserves Committee. It was
at these meetings that Estuary maintenance and developments were
discussed. On this and many other involvements Mr.Hayman was a very
generous giver to the club. In more recent times the Milford
Cruising Club has witnessed many changes and certainly progress has
We can all be very proud of our magnificent
new Clubrooms, a far cry from the old house. Our slipway is the
envy of many Boat Clubs in the country. We have fostered yachting
amongst young and old. Many of our members and their children have
gone on to represent our country in international competition. We
are indebted to those earlier members for their hard work,their
belief in the future of the club, their supreme optimism and their
foresight. In an article such as this, it is impossible to name all
that deserve credit, but we must mention people such as Bill Jobey,
for years a tower of strength on the slipway, John Gladden, A.Y.A.
Representitive, Commodore, Slipmaster and many other tasks. Bill
Brown, Bill Senior and his wife Megg, Jack Osborne, famous for his
leading light. Peter Wood, Pam McVeagh for her flags, Bob McVeagh
for his Marina development designs, to Gerry Dawson for his
building and committee work and to all the others who helped us
achieve the magnificent progress we have witnessed over the