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No. 23 (July 1958)
– 51 –
 

A CENTURY OF RACING

[continued from page 29]

The officers at that time were Messrs W. H. Simcox (patron), Ropata Te Ao (President), and H. F. Eager (secretary). Meetings were advertised for Queen's and Prince of Wales' Birthdays each year with prize money in the Spring and Autumn of 1895–6 at £250 and £450 respectively.

One of the oldest identities at present living in Otaki is Mr O. J. D'Ath of Rangiuru Road. He became Secretary of the Club in 1900, and held that position for twenty-five years. An interesting link with the past, Mr D'Ath still retains many vivid recollections of the early formation of the Club. His home is only a short distance from the site of the old Rangiuru course where they continued to hold meetings until 1912. It was in that year, according to Mr D'Ath that they were finally established on their present location opposite the Otaki Railway Station.

Each year thousands of racing enthusiasts continue to find the ‘Otaki Maori’ a popular attraction. It is the equal of any other country club in New Zealand and the comparatively high stake money offered ensures at each meeting a good field of top-class performers. It is not surprising at most meetings to find that many of the best horses on the card are owned and trained locally. Well-known turf personalities such as G. Walton. W. McEwan, A. D. Webster. J. Houlihan, and the Maori trainer, C. Enoka are among those who live near, or have their stables in close proximitiy to the race-course.

With several large scale plans for improvement under consideration the present committee are constantly reviewing the problem of public amenities and expansion. Already nearing completion is the construction of a modern cafeteria which covers an area of 7,000 square feet and will cost an estimated £17,000. The Secretary of the Club is Mr T. Winiata, a brother of the late Nepia Winiata, who for several years held office as President until his death at Levin recently. This position has since been filled by the appointmitte the Club has maintained its long-standing reputation in the racing world.