The Lawn Bowlers of Waiheke

We’ve spent a lot of time anchored off the village of Oneroa on Waiheke Island. It’s an unusual place for New Zealand, the locals get so much tourist exposure that no one offers to lend you cars, take you on errands or chat through your life story. They are more like unusually friendly Seattleites.  But we like Waiheke because the bays have decent coverage from squirrely winds and it’s fun to walk the picturesque country lanes and see the semi-rural lifestyles of Auckland’s gentry. 

After a couple of days without making any new best friends we took some initiative and invited ourselves into the local lawn bowling club for a cup of coffee from their newly commissioned cappuccino machine. We took our well-crafted artisanal drinks out on the terrace and watched the ground balls gracefully roll.

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The nominal age at the club was probably near 70. Our mate in the stands had just passed her 80th, but was still hoping for a bloody war and a quick promotion to one of the active teams. We could tell there was some serious skill and tradition in play here.

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The game appears to be similar to Bocci from what we can tell. A small ball is chucked onto the green and consecutive teams try to bowl large black balls as close as possible to the little white one (we know, Aaron, we know).

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There’s an inspector who indicates the vagaries of each toss…

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and a great deal of inspection to determine just what has ended where.

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Sometimes it doesn’t always go your way.

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No one says much, it’s all been seen before.

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We like this combination of moving body physics, white clothes, ancient friends, gravitas and luncheons. If we had time, we’d be looking for a club sponsor.

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36°49.00’S 175°00.50’E 04-Dec-10 01:55 UTC

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