Bowling towards 100 years at Tauranga South

Barry Elshaw wants past members of Bowls Tauranga South that the club’s centenary celebration is coming up in February 2024. Photo: John Borren.

A bowling club in Tauranga – which first rolled a ball across the greens in 1924 – is about to celebrate 100 years of existence.

Bowls Tauranga South is trying to let past members know that the club will host centenary celebrations on the weekend of February 9-11, 2024.

Bowls Tauranga South committee member Barry Elshaw says everybody is welcome to the February event – but he especially wants to get word out to past members.

“I hope once people see this article I’ll get some enquires from people who left the club 30 years ago who would like to come.”

At a meeting chaired by Mr Beale in 1924 the decision was made to form a combined bowls-tennis club on the corner of Devonport Rd and 10th Ave, says Barry. “Back in 1924, Tauranga had a population of 2500.

“The estimated cost of establishing the grounds was 300 pounds and for a successful club to exist, 75 people were required to join. This obviously happened, and so the journey began.”

In 1940, the club shifted to a new block in Tauranga South, says Barry. “Opening day for this new club on October 12, 1940, was attended by 250 players and visitors. At this time Tauranga had a population of 3900.”

Barry credits good leadership and loyal, supportive members for the ongoing success of Tauranga South Bowling Club, which is now located on Tutchen St.

“During the past 10-15 years membership numbers declined – however in the last three or four years there’s been a turnaround and numbers are increasing monthly.”

Barry, who has been involved in the club for about 19 years, including being a board member and past president, says his favourite club memory is becoming a life member.

“We’ve got about seven life members, says Barry. “We’re a very social club, and today have more than 250 members. We just want it to be a happy-go-lucky sort of place.”

Currently the club is in good spirits – looking ahead to celebrating its 100-year milestone in February. “It’s going to be fun!”

On Friday, February 9, 2024, the centennial programme starts 3.30pm for visitors and club members’ social hours at the clubrooms.

On Saturday, February 10, at noon everyone will be welcomed in for a 12.30pm lunch followed by a guest speaker. At 2pm is photos – and at 2.30pm bowls kick off. From 4pm will be drinks followed by dinner and music at 5.30pm.

Then on Sunday, February 11, at 10.30am there is a sponsored brunch. From noon will be bowls followed by a 2pm closing ceremony with afternoon tea.

“We’re proud of how we started and how we’re doing,” says Barry. “The club is really buzzing.”

To attend any of the centenary events, there’s a $10 registration fee.

To register, email: Or call  07 578 6213. Or call Barry on 028 8500 1947. Or see:

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