Avon Rowing Club

One of four rowing clubs training on Kerr’s Reach in Christchurch, Avon Rowing Club is one of the oldest established rowing clubs in New Zealand and has long been an integral part of sport in the Canterbury region.  Avon has a number of rowers in New Zealand representative squads and close ties to the regional rowing performance centre.  International rowing is now one of New Zealand sport’s success stories, but at grass roots level the variety it offers to athletes of all ages and abilities can give a lifetime of enjoyment to those who participate.  At Avon we aim to provide the best that rowing can offer and, very importantly, make it possible for people from any background to experience our sport.

Our club has over 500 members, including rowers from local secondary schools Burnside High School, Marian College, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, Riccarton High School, Shirley Boys’ High School, St Andrew’s College, St Bede’s College, St Margaret’s College, St Thomas of Canterbury College, and Villa Maria College. Male and female members participate at all levels from U15 and novice through to masters, in both sculling and sweep oar events throughout the rowing calendar. The club also hosts rowers from overseas visiting New Zealand, corporate rowers and university rowers.

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History of Avon Rowing Club

The Avon Rowing Club traces its origins back to the formation of the Trades Rowing Club in 1881, and its change of name to Avon in 1884.  However, there is evidence of the club winning trophies as early as 1868.  As the original name of ‘Trades’ denotes, the first members were drawn from the ranks of young artisans and mechanics of the era.  At this time, moves were being made to form the NZ Amateur Rowing Association which was finally established in 1887.  However, the new NZ Association adopted the rules and regulations of the Amateur Rowing Association from England, which specifically excluded ‘artisans and mechanics’ from racing as amateurs. It is for this reason that a ‘Trades’ rowing club would not be acceptable, and the club’s name was subsequently changed to Avon after the river they rowed on.

The Avon Rowing Club has never lost its affiliation to its working class beginnings. Perhaps the greatest character of our club resides in the tremendous spirit of its members.  From the earliest time all have been prepared to do their very best in any task that confronted them, and to carry it out with generous goodwill and unmatched comradeship, features which still tie together Avon members, past and present.

The success of the Avon Rowing Club can be inextricably linked to these basic values. We go forward confident that in changing and sometimes difficult times, the same spirit will carry the Club successfully and happily into the future.

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