Ōtaki Sports Club won club of the year at the 2022 Wellington Sport and Recreation Awards in Wellington on 5 July.
The nomination and award were for tennis, for our outstanding impact on the community and great achievement in that sport.
The other finalists were Eastern Suburbs (Cricket), Waikanae Beach (Tennis), Wellington Wildcats (Ultimate Frisbee) and Hutt United (Hockey).
They are four very different clubs to us but all united by their desire, like ours, to make their clubs the best they can for their members in terms of access to sporting opportunity.
We know just how much work is involved to do that, and we salute their efforts and the time and expertise their volunteers give freely to make their clubs great places.
In the last couple of years, we have put in place a tennis development programme that offers pathways for players of all ages and abilities, and it has led to a doubling in size of our club tennis community.
Created and run by Adam Shelton, the development programme has turned around tennis in Ōtaki – so much so that our four courts at Haruātai Park are now very regularly used, compared with, say, two years ago when you could go for days and not see anyone there.
The programme is testament to what hard work coupled to good ideas can achieve for community sport.
And even though tennis was the winner on the night, the award is a reflection of the efforts that our other two codes – football and squash – also go to, to make our club the best it can be for club members and the community.
All three of our codes have had wonderful successes in the past 12 months – with new teams, increased numbers of players, new events, new coaches. Membership up significantly at the club, and continuing to grow.