Club History

The Karori Lawn Tennis Club goes back more than 100 years - back to the time when electric light was extended to Makara Hill in 1901! In fact the early history of the Club shows that three Karori Borough Council Mayors - Messrs R. C. Bulkley, W. H. Tisdall and C. Dasent were either chairmen of the Club or on the committee.

The forerunner of the Karori Lawn Club was the “Craigielea” Lawn Tennis Club which was formed as a private club on November 2, 1901. Mr  Henry Dryden, who lived on the corner of Chaytor Street and Karori Road, known as Drydens Corner, kindly gave the use of his court on condition that it was kept in good order. The following season whilst the lawn  was being re-grassed, he offered free use of his bowling green.

Rules were first drawn up in December 1901 and these form the basis of those applying to this day with some notable exceptions such as:
  • The Club shall consist of not more than twenty-five playing members, of which not more than fifteen shall be ladies.
  • The Annual Subsription shall be: Gentlemen 10/-,  Ladies 5/-,  and No Member shall play on the courts on Sundays”
It was considered desirable for the Club to acquire two courts on its own property and several schemes were put forward - the first from the Bowling Club regarding joint action in acquiring land and the Tennis Club offered to pay as rent 5% of the land value. The next plan was to lease a portion of the Glebe land which had been offered  by St Mary’s vestry.

A further offer of 1/2 acre of leasehold land with frontage on the Main Road for a 10 year term was considered. This was moved for adoption but appears to have been hotly opposed by three committee members. Mr C. Cathie and Mr Porter “doubted the wisdom of raising debentures on leasehold land”. The motion was lost whereupon “The Lands Committee intimated their desire to resign” and a new Lands Committee was appointed.
On 7th August 1903 at a General Meeting held at Mrs Webb’s refreshment room, with Mr W. H. Tisdall in the chair, the new Lands Committee read this report. There was “a choice of  two sections, one offered by Mrs Fisher situated on the Main Road, 66 x 300 feet for 250 pounds, the other by Mr Lewer 216 x 100 feet to a proposed street off Campbell Street for 300 pounds”.

Considerable discussion ensued as to whether it was desirable for the Club to have more than three courts and in the opinion of the meeting it was considered not desirable. Mrs Fisher’s land was agreed upon and the Works Committee was authorised to proceed with the construction of two courts.
In September 1903 the club was named the Karori Lawn Tennis Club and a  Rules Committee report was approved. The Club was registered as a society also around this time.
The aforementioned is an early history of the club and since 1903 it has had its share of “ups and downs”.

 The Club has had its share of great names including:
  • Ron McKenzie, 12 NZ Titles including doubles, club champion 1955, NZ Davis Cup
  • John Barry, NZ Champion, NZ Davis Cup, Club Champion 1952, 1954
  • John McDonald,, Top 10 ranked NZ player, Club Champion 1946, 47, 53, 56, 57
  • Richard Hawkes, NZ Davis Cup, Club Champion 1958 - 66
  • Marilyn Pryde, NZ Champion, Club Champion 1965 - 68
All the aforementioned male players played Davis Cup for NZ and there was a time the Club’s Top Interclub Team comprised mainly Davis Cup players. John McDonald was Chairman of the Wimbledon Board of Members.