New Zealand’s 12th roof opens in Tauranga

Recently, the 12th roof opened in New Zealand at the Tauranga South Bowling Club.

It follows on from roofs (or is it rooves?) already in use at Orewa, New Lynn, Remuera, Royal Oak, Pukekohe, Frankton Junction, Hastings, Paritutu, Naenae, Dunedin, and Waverley in Southland.  Thirteenth if you count, the remarkable one-rinker at Thornbury in the deep south.

And they’re coming thick and fast. Plans … and in some case, construction … are already underway for roofs at Papatoetoe Hunter Corner, the Mount, Howick, Palmerston North, Woolston … as well as second roofs at Orewa and Remuera.

There’s also talk about roofs at many other clubs around New Zealand.

From Bowls New Zealand’s point of view, that’s great.  The NSO would like to see a roof in every main centre in the country .. so that bowls can be played at a national level in any part of New Zealand at any time of the year,

The opening of the roof at Tauranga South means that the Bay of Plenty joins that national network.

“Planning for the roof has been on the go for 4 years.  It would never have been possible without some exceptional board members running the club.” says newly-elected President of Tauranga South, Frank Aldridge (pictured). “They made the decision to sell our third green, which freed up the cash for the roof.”

“Originally, we had very grandiose plans,” he adds.  “We were not only going to put up a roof, but bulldoze the clubhouse and build a new one.  Common sense prevailed, and we went with building the roof, but delaying a new clubhouse to sometime in the future.”

The new roof is a spectacular addition to the Tauranga bowlscape.

At $1.7 million it wasn’t cheap.  “That not only includes the roof itself, but a new underlying artificial green as well.  Plus electrically-driven drop-down curtains on 2 sides (there are solid sides on the southern side to block out the cold southerlies), a 4 speaker PA system with bluetooth and wireless microphone, and 800 LUX lighting.  And of course, we get over $200,000 GST back!”

“It also includes a new life for our greenkeeper’s shed adjacent to the roofed green, which has been converted to a greenside bar and a broadcast box, with high-speed internet and wi-fi.”

Even with this spend, Tauranga South still has money in the bank.

“We’ve put funds into a high-return investment,” says Frank. “The interest should provide sufficient funds for renewing the two artificials we have in 15+ years.  We don’t want to run into a financial cliff when the greens need replacing.”

The Shade Systems build went very smoothly … excellent communication and project management playing a huge part.

“The only hiccup was the council being scared by last year’s Cyclone Gabrielle … we found ourselves having to install five 6 cubic metre soak holes to control the discharge of heavy rainfall.  The drainage on our open green is so good that it means it will only sit under water for a maximum of 5 minutes.”

“When it came to get a Code of Compliance for the whole shebang, the only issue they found on the application was the misspelling of the name of the entrance street to the club … ‘Tutchens’ instead of ‘Tutchen’!”

The roof was officially opened on Friday 31st May 2024 … the centenary year of the club.

“We had a ‘do’ in the evening, a ribbon-cutting, and glasses of champagne to go around thanks to Shade Systems.  The first jack was thrown down by our youngest club member, Jaspar Lucas (14 years old) and the first bowl was bowled by our oldest club member, 93 year-old Alan Timms.”

“We also ran a ‘corner-to-corner’ with the guests competing for first prize of $250.  Even that came down to a measure!”

“The night finished reasonably early,” says Frank, “Because it was the eve of our big King’s Birthday Tournament, with 32 Fours teams playing on the two greens.”

Like many ‘signature’ tournaments around the country, the Tauranga South tournament attracted repeat entries from around the North Island .  “There was, as always a waiting list to play in the tournament.”

“Everyone enjoyed time on both the covered and uncovered green.”

And why wouldn’t they?  It’s a wonderful facility.

Next time you’re in Tauranga, take a swing by.