Posted by on 18/07/2012
Punters in the Hauraki district will have their last chance to enjoy a day at the races in the fresh Paeroa air next Wednesday.
Cash-strapped Paeroa Racing Club will stage its final race meeting on July 25 and from July 31 return the venue to the property owners, The Barbara Anderson Family Trust.
A special meeting of members made this decision after accepting there was no chance of a change of fortune which would allow it to continue operations into the new season beginning on August 1.
The decision, made without a single dissenting vote from the 38 members in attendance, brings to an end 137 years of racing activity in the community dating back to the goldrush days associated with neighbouring Thames and Waihi and more recently the highly productive dairy industry developed on the Hauraki Plains.
In the early post World War II years it was rated one of New Zealand’s most successful country clubs. Over the years the Paeroa turf has been graced by some of New Zealand’s most famous gallopers, including Kindergarten, Rising Fast, Sunline and Seachange. A feature of one of New Zealand’s most picturesque racetracks is its twin-hill steeples course.
At its close the club was hosting eight racedays and eight trials days. But its reliance on mid-week dates has made financial viability impossible. Nine years ago the Barbara Anderson Family Trust bought the land which it leased back to club, but that initiative proved to be just another sticking plaster solution.
Last night members agreed to call a halt while it could still exit without debt.
Club secretary Jennifer Stewart said that "while she had managed to reduce the annual loss from $150,000 per annum to $18,000 during her six-year tenure, the club’s life expectancy was always obviously short. Only the volume of volunteer support and the generous sponsorship of the Barbara Anderson Family Trust had kept the club afloat for as long it did".
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