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Clubhouse now open

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Years of hard work paid off for the Riversdale community on the weekend as they gathered to officially open their new surf lifesaving clubrooms and facilities.

The sun was shining for the crowd of 70 or so people on Saturday, who came to celebrate the new clubhouse built at Riversdale Beach.

The club facilities had been operational since just before Christmas, but had not been officially opened until now.


Masterton District Council Maori liaison officer Hoani Paku opened the ceremony with a karakia, drawing a link between the beach elements and the people who had gathered to celebrate.

Three years ago, the public toilet block, next door to the old clubhouse, was condemned as structurally unsound.

When this happened, the Riversdale Beach Surf Life Saving Club approached MDC and asked whether a combined facility could be built, incorporating the clubhouse, a purpose-built first aid facility and a new public toilet block.

The council agreed, and after two years of design and planning, and an intense fund-raising effort, the new foundations were laid last year, and completed three days before Christmas.

The top storey of the old clubhouse is still intact. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
The top storey of the old clubhouse is still intact. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

The old yellow and red clubhouse was demolished, however, the top storey remains intact on a piece of land behind the new build.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson acknowledged the hard work the Riversdale and wider Wairarapa community had put into the build in her speech.

“In council, we talk a lot about community in general,” she said.

“Community is one word, but it’s made up of each individual person that lives in it.

“This highlights the spirit of this particular community — that you all got behind this and worked so incredibly hard and have been able to build something in a relatively short period of time.”

She said the clubhouse was a “great legacy”, but “these things don’t happen unless you have a community champion”.

She said Riversdale Beach Surf Life Saving Club chairman Dave Rose was “without a doubt” that community champion.

Club chairman Dave Rose, left, and club patron Brian Bodle. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Club chairman Dave Rose, left, and club patron Brian Bodle. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

Mr Rose had been involved in the build process for the past three years as project leader, and though he was a man of few words at the ceremony, said he was humbled and thankful for the support he had received from the community.

“It is a pleasure to be part of such a neat community,” he said.

“We had some great days on the site, and we had three years of pretty hard work to get it to here.

“It’s a wonderful facility and I’m sure it will benefit the whole community.”

Club president Murray Brown said he remembered the early stages of “dreaming the dream” and had been blown away by the effort the committee had put into the project.

“Dave Rose, Rosie, just mind-blowing what you’ve done,” Mr Brown said during the ceremony.

“This is a legacy thanks to your efforts. You’ve got so much passion, so much feeling, and whatever you do, you pour it all out.

“To do it day after day, week after week… it was endless, and he never let up. It’s incredible, Dave, what you’ve done.”

Club patron Brian Bodle

was the first Junior Club Captain back in the 1950s and was involved in the opening ceremony of the first clubhouse on the same site 59 years ago in 1958.

He spoke of the formation of the club in 1955, a time when Riversdale was “in its raw infancy” – “with a narrow, mostly gravel, dusty road to town, no electricity or public telephone service to the coast, and the mostly barren hundred acres of beach without one single dwelling until late 1954”.

“I can assure all present, that the two-storey effort in the 50s and this magnificent building here today have involved massive contributions, community support, time, generosity and effort, all relevant to its era.

“Both will remain as major milestones in the club’s history.”

Surf Life Saving New Zealand chief executive Paul Dalton attended the opening, as did Masterton councillors Jonathan Hooker, Simon O’Donoghue, and Wairarapa Labour candidate Kieran McAnulty.


The new generation of lifeguards. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
The new generation of lifeguards. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Club chairman Dave Rose speaks at the ceremony. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Club chairman Dave Rose speaks at the ceremony. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN


  1. Congratulations Riversdale club. Have many happy memories of past club weekends and patrols there in the early 1960’s. Recommend it to as a challenging and rewarding activity.

    • Hi Ted if you have any stories or photos from your time with the club we would love to hear or see them

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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