Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards 2020 Club of the Year
It’s also recognition of their proactive approach and willingness to innovate and embrace change.
“They have a young, progressive board, with both the president and vice president much younger than the majority of our bowlers,” says Bowls New Zealand club communications manager Martin MacKenzie. “They have come from other sports with some new ideas and a real drive to bring in younger members which has been great.”
“It has been an exciting time for the club. They had to relocate their main facility after the Christchurch earthquake and they really struggled for several years. This younger group coming in has really helped to invigorate them and they have gone from strength to strength.”
The 2020 national singles and pairs championships was a chance for Papanui to show their wares, and they certainly delivered.
Although the event is staged across many different greens throughout the city, especially in the opening rounds, the headquarters club takes on the biggest burden.
“We were a little bit concerned prior to the nationals about whether they would be able to cope but they did a magnificent job,” says MacKenzie.
“In the final few days, the headquarters is the focus and that club has to be on their game to make it happen.
“Every single club member was involved during the nationals and contributed to a wonderful team effort. They put on some really good social events, the catering was fantastic and the greens were superb.”
Bowls New Zealand chief executive Mark Cameron was similarly impressed.
“The attention to detail, energy and friendliness of the volunteers really stood out,” says Cameron. “From all the feedback it was obvious the participants really enjoyed their time at Club Papanui Bowling Club.”
The club’s commitment was underlined by their decision to invest $45,000 in new seating around both greens ahead of the national events.
On other metrics, Papanui Club Outdoor Bowls are setting a high standard. They were successful in attracting 27 new members across the recent season, and are the second biggest club in the South Island.
Their weekly club days – where members enjoy raffles, happy hours, player of the day awards and a supper – have been a resounding success, regularly drawing between 60-100 people.
Although they are part of the wider Papanui Club, the outdoor bowls operation are proud to be completely self-sustainable. This has been helped by an easy to understand tiered marketing strategy and a proactive approach with sponsors.
The club also have a range of slick uniforms and apparel, which have had a strong uptake with members and assist with branding.
In its 51st year, Papanui Club Outdoor Bowls continues to honour their history and tradition while also facing up to the changes needed to thrive in the current environment.
“For a long time, Bowls has been an older game and we have wanted to bring in younger members,” says MacKenzie. “The club has allowed these younger guys to take over, whereas in a lot of clubs you may have had to be there for 20 or 30 years. And it’s not just the executive, but everyone there has embraced change.”
In a closely contested category, Stoke Nelson, Birkenhead, Mamaranui, Bowls Papanui, Takapuna and Stokes Valley were the other finalists.