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.