Auckland Water Polo oversees the administration of age group water polo leagues between the seven clubs in the Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland region of New Zealand.
The region's seven clubs are (from North to South):
HIBISCUS COAST WATER POLO CLUB (HBC)
NORTH HARBOUR WATER POLO CLUB (NHB)
WAITAKERE WATER POLO CLUB (WTK)
SEA WOLF WATER POLO CLUB (SWF)
ATLANTIS CITY WATER POLO AND AQUATICS CLUB (ATC)
MARIST AUCKLAND WATER POLO CLUB (MAR)
MOUNTFORT PARK WATER POLO CLUB (MFP)
In 2017, Auckland Water Polo was renamed as the Auckland Water Polo Centre and adopted a new constitution – signalling a new era of water polo in the region, which continues to grow with increases in both club and player numbers. The Centre is chaired by Mr. Chris Hayward, has delegates from each club and is supported by an administrator and a digital content producer.
From the early 1900s, Auckland Water Polo existed as a component of the Auckland Swimming Centre. In 1984 (around the time that Marist, Waitakere and North Harbour Clubs were founded), it became an autonomous entity with an independent board. Meeting grounds for the board included the Olympic Pools in Newmarket (1970s), the Royal George Tavern (1980s) and West Wave Aquatic Centre (1990s). In 2017 we became an incorporated society and adopted a formal constitution, which was revised in 2018.
The Centre’s current Chair, Mr. Chris Hayward, was preceded by Garry Hadfield, David Wistrand, John Court, Jack Mazzoleni and Geoff Knights. Past secretaries have included Heather Hume, Mike Richards and Chris Hayward.
The Mens League, which now sees teams compete for the Knights Family Trophy, had its origins in the 1890s. The Womens League began later in 1918, with the Ralph Challenge Shield as its prize. The Centre now oversees league for age groups from Under 14s through to Seniors.
Auckland Water Polo marked a significant milestone in 2018 with the appointment of its first life member, Mr. Colin Bright. Stepping down from his role as treasurer at the 2018 AGM, Colin had been involved in Auckland Water Polo for 36 years, playing an integral role in the development of the sport in Auckland throughout that time.
Governance of the Auckland Water Polo Centre is the responsibility of an executive committee, made up of club delegates and a Chair. Voting rights at the Centre’s AGM are a function of club membership numbers. The current committee is as follows:
Chris Hayward (Chair), Matt Southerden (Treasurer, Waitakere), Carol McKenzie-Rex (Secretary, Mountfort Park), Fred Oloapu (Referees’ Representative, Marist), Michelle McDowell (Hibiscus Coast), Kim Stephens (North Harbour), Matt Fenton (Sea Wolf), Jenny Spillane (Atlantis City).
The Committee meets monthly to oversee the operations, finances and strategy of the Centre.
Water Polo is a dynamic, fast-paced and physically demanding sport. Two teams of seven compete to score as many goals as possible while holding to the constraints of treating water and fielding the ball with a single hand. Limited contact is allowed, with players challenging each other for position and possession of the ball. The first team sport to be introduced to the Olympic Games, water polo was know as ‘aquatic football’ prior to the foundation of FINA in 1908. In New Zealand, water polo is a well known, growing sport, especially popular among school age players. Auckland is home to New Zealand’s largest and most successful water polo clubs, and the Centre is proud to see many of our athletes competing internationally.