The Leader reported the inaugural meeting as a larger attendance than expected and after the committee was elected and the club named, the Dutch Club, through Otto van der Veldt, offered 36 boards. Many tables were offered on loan and the Lower Hutt club donated 24 packs of cards. It was agreed that the Foundation member Sub would be $8.
Hence a successful opening evening on June 5 1969 was enjoyed by all 48 players. At the meeting following, a decision was made to purchase cups, saucers, plates, teapots and……..two and a half dozen ashtrays!
In August tea girls were employed at $1.50 a night for Monday and Thursday nights.
The Maidstone Cricket pavilion was not an ideal venue security wise, as members were not allowed to park in the locked grounds at night so had to leave cars on the street and walk through under the dark trees. Although a car was damaged and a car stolen a key to the gate was still refused. In addition, on each playing night, the rooms had to be set up and tables stored away after play.
In the early years, meetings were held in Committee members homes until 1971 when the club leased and moved upstairs in Taylor House. This was a good sized space but empty like a warehouse so…….many work bees followed to line the walls and build a kitchen in the 1500 sq.ft premises.
The members’ skills and energy were employed painting, curtain making, flooring etc. all required to convert the premise to a reasonable but not ideal standard.
There were 122 members at this stage and it was mooted that members loaned the Club $20.00 each to allow for suitable furnishings to be purchased and fans to be installed in the ceiling to extract smoke. This loan was interest free and to be repaid in 2 years.
By 1972 there were 3 Sessions a week, 156 members and 16 plus tables. Mr. Gray was running learners’ lessons and was rewarded for his valuable work with….a box of cigars!
In 1973 a number of players from Witako prison were invited and welcomed to the club. A decision was made against providing sherry on those nights.
Later this year smokers were asked to cut down because smoke was playing havoc with the atmosphere and ventilation was not adequate. The Tournament director this year was given a bottle of gin!
An interesting item from 1974 AGM was discussion about the shortage of directors and perhaps ladies could be included but it was pointed out that ladies are exempt since their job was providing food!
A building fund had been established with the ultimate target a premise of our own. With this in mind discussions and negotiations were undertaken with the Upper Hutt Bowling Club to share premises built on council land but this idea was later dismissed.
At the AGM in 1976 a motion was passed that a penalty of 25% of available points would be imposed if a player discusses hands before the cards are completed and/or discusses after the director says to move……….interesting.
When reading through the minutes for 1976, I noted the signature of the secretary, Ray Hardie and at the time it seemed familiar to me. I later remembered where and in my banknote collection I discovered that he must have been Reserve Bank of New Zealand Chief Cashier. Later the banknotes were signed by the Governor of the Reserve bank.
The main items on the Agenda for 1977 were to increase the table money, or to cut out supper followed by much discussion about noise levels and player ethics which had not improved despite attempts to do so. The latter two plus slow play were a common theme through the years in the minutes.
In 1978 a council site in Poplar Avenue became available and plans were being drawn up by a sub-committee alongside possible finance ideas.
A Champagne Tournament was run in 1979 with a crate of champagne donated by Strouds. The same year the Upper Valley Bridge Club was name changed to Upper Hutt Bridge Club(inc).