Pokia the con­sum­mate worker for golf club


Liz Pokia leans for­ward and ex­plains her chal­lenge: ‘‘Kids tend to see golf as an old per­son’s game.’’

The Ti­tahi Golf Club ju­nior devel­op­ment and fundrais­ing whiz felt hum­bled to re­ceive a Porirua 50th medal, one of 50 peo­ple or cou­ples hon­oured for the city’s mile­stone birth­day last Oc­to­ber.

She said some­times it was tough to get young peo­ple to look past rugby.

‘‘All they want to do is hit the ball, but you want to give them the skills to go fur­ther,’’ Pokia said.

‘‘The tough­est bit is just hit­ting it prop­erly. There’s a whole pile of eti­quette, but you don’t want to give them all the things they can’t do, you want to give them the things they can do.

‘‘The chal­lenge is to get them to re­tain the in­for­ma­tion.’’

She fired off names of young tal­ent such as Jay­den Ford and Trey Shed­lock.

‘‘We’ve got some great chil­dren com­ing through.’’

Pokia has strong back-up. Tom Campbell also re­ceived a 50th medal.

Campbell, fa­ther of US Open win­ner Michael Campbell, has been with the club for 30 years.

He said Pokia played a key role in help­ing it pros­per, be it through ad­min, fundrais­ing, or the way ‘‘she al­ways has her finger on the pulse’’ of ju­nior devel­op­ment.

Pokia, who has a hand­i­cap of 23 or 24, also works as a min­is­te­rial governance ad­viser for Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion.

Both her par­ents were golfers, and Pokia has been a club mem­ber since 1994, when she was 26.

Her mother died the fol­low­ing year, leav­ing Pokia to be­come the women’s sec­re­tary.

‘‘In my first days, Ken Dou­glas [now a Porirua City coun­cil­lor] was there clean­ing the ash trays and for a while he be­came one of my men­tors.’’

She stepped down as club cap­tain a year ago, but still plays the oc­ca­sional nine holes with her fa­ther, 78-year-old Tui Pokia.

It’s been a real fam­ily ef­fort – her brother works there as a chef, her sis­ter was a man­ager, her niece helps as a wait­ress and her neph­ews as kitchen hands.

‘‘You’re al­ways find­ing whanau help­ing whanau there.’’

Liz Pokia has done ev­ery­thing from help­ing in the kitchen to se­lect­ing in­ter­club play­ers in more than 17 years vol­un­teer­ing at Ti­tahi Golf Club.

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