Awakino to host cel­e­bra­tions

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS­TINE WALSH

If you’re cruis­ing along State High­way 3, and hap­pen to blink just north of the Taranaki bor­der, odds are you might miss Awakino.

Come the week­end of Feb­ru­ary 17 to 18, bowl­ing buffs from across the re­gion, and some from fur­ther afield, will con­verge on the sleepy sea­side set­tle­ment to mark the Awakino Bowl­ing Club’s 90-year an­niver­sary.

Past and present mem­bers, along with guest bowl­ing teams will join in the cel­e­bra­tions. Peo­ple who at­tend can ex­pect to be given the red car­pet treat­ment, coun­try folk style.

‘‘We are just real fun, you’d think about the last six or seven years we were hav­ing a big party down there, we’re all happy go lucky,’’ said the events coor­gan­iser, and club sec­re­tary, Gail O’Keefe.

Day one of the ju­bilee agenda in­cludes a morn­ing tea, a so­cial game of bowls, a smor­gas­bord lun­cheon, then later in the af­ter­noon guests will chow down to sheep on a spit and a bar­be­cue.

Sun­day’s run­ning pro­gramme will see groups ro­tate be­tween time on the green com­pet­ing in the mixed team so­cial tour­na­ment, with time in the clu­b­rooms snack­ing and so­cial­is­ing.

‘‘We are all about hav­ing fun out here,’’ said O’Keefe.

The club was founded by the late Tony Bartlett, and in 1930 it was thriv­ing with 90 mem­bers. O’Keefe said the week­end was a chance to cel­e­brate the club’s rich his­tory, rem­i­nisce with old friends and spin a few yarns.

‘‘We found some in­for­ma­tion about when they had their 60th and dis­cov­ered they cel­e­brated it about five or six years late,’’ she said with a grin.

O’Keefe hails from Mokau and joined the club 30 years back be­cause her home vil­lage never had a bowl­ing club of its own. She said the ma­jor­ity of the bowlers in the Awakino Bowl­ing Club were also from the neigh­bour­ing vil­lage.

‘‘Thirty years ago we used to have two men’s teams and a lady’s team play­ing in shield bowls.’’

De­spite mem­ber­ship num­bers drop­ping since then, the tiny club main­tained a strong com­mu­nity pulse.

‘‘We still keep it go­ing be­cause there’s noth­ing else, the golf club comes and goes and comes and goes that much.’’

For­mer mem­bers have been sent reg­is­tra­tion packs for the event, but if you have been missed con­tact Gail O’Keefe on 06 752 9014.

CHRIS­TINE WALSH/ STUFF

Awakino Bowl­ing Club mem­ber, Gail O’Keefe pre­par­ing for club’s birth­day party.

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