High School Rowing in New Zealand, and elsewhere…

Any 'oarsmen' among this group of Christchurch schoolboys?
Any ‘oarsmen’ among this group of Christchurch schoolboys?

Just the other day, HTBS received an e-mail from one of our friends “Down Under”, Michael Grace, author of the brilliant book The Dolly Varden Legacy: The History of the Wellington Rowing Club (2010). Michael is now working on another writing project about high school rowing in New Zealand. He writes: ‘I am interested in gaining some detail and/or references around the first high-school rowing races in the U.S., UK and Australia to provide some context to its beginnings in NZ’.

Michael Grace
Michael Grace

High school rowing seems to have started in New Zealand in 1885.

Michael is hoping that you HTBS readers might be able to point him in the direction of books or references that might be useful to him. Other material, including information online, is also welcome.

Please give Michael information in a comment to this entry, or e-mail HTBS your information and we promise to forward it directly to him: e-mail HTBS editor at,

gbuckhorn – at – gmail – dot – com

One comment

  1. Westminster School Boat Club in London claim to be the oldest rowing club anywhere in the world. Initially, their rivalry was with Eton (who claim an earlier founding date, but Westminster’s records go back further), and they held an annual race. It may have been former pupils of these schools who introduced rowing to Oxford and Cambridge, and they are certainly responsible for the institution of the Boat Race. Westminster’s racing colour of pink (initially red, which faded) was adopted by Leander.

    Link here: http://www.wsbc.org.uk/history.htm

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