It is believed that the Auckland Croquet Association was established by the clubs in Auckland in 1899, as the Centenary of the ACA was held in 1999. Unfortunately early records of the ACA were lost and the first available information dates from the mid 1950s.
Croquet was brought to NZ from England by early settlers after 1850 and garden croquet was a popular game at that time. The first formal croquet club was formed as part of the Ponsonby Lawn Tennis Club in 1879.
The following article was written by the late Mr Arthur Ross for Mrs Moffitt, a former President (1962-63) of the Auckland Croquet Association.
"Croquet is one of the oldest British games, having been played in one form or other for hundreds of years, but it has only emerged in its present highly scientific form in the closing years of the 1800’s. There were croquet clubs in many parts of New Zealand at that period, but the first district organisation was not set up until 1899 when the Auckland clubs combined to form the Auckland Croquet Association. This body has functioned ever since and had quite a lot to do with the formation of the New Zealand Croquet Council in the years following the First World War, and as such must be regarded as the Senior Association in the Dominion.”
There is no reference to which clubs formed the original association. Many clubs have disappeared and are only remembered by family members who recall their parents playing or being taken to watch them play. There were once clubs in Onehunga, Mt Eden, Rocky Nook, Winstone Park, Remuera and Mt Hobson and no doubt there were others.
Croquet players were mainly women and many croquet clubs were associated with bowling clubs because women were excluded from playing bowls, so they played croquet instead.
In 1920 the New Zealand Croquet Council was formed and its first President was Mr E. Ross, the father of Arthur Ross.
BRUCE HEASLEY'S ARCHIVE
Recently Bruce Heasley has been compiling a history of all clubs in and around Auckland. He has retrieved a huge amount of information which we are now able to make available here. Please see the Archive page for more details.