A Brief History of NZ Water Skiing

1954 to 1983

Water skiing officially began in New Zealand through the formation of several clubs:

  • The Auckland Water Ski Club on Orakei Basin formed & incorporated in 1954 by G Mason & J Whatnall
  • The New Zealand Water Ski Club on Waipuna basin in 1954 & became an incorporated society in 1959 & changing its name to the Waipuna Water Ski club in 1975
  • The Wellington WSC on the Petone foreshore in 1957 by K Mansfield
  • The Monaco Water Ski Club at Picton in 1956
  • The Christchurch Water Sport Club around 1958

However, the sport's growing popularity brought challenges, with accidents caused by inexperienced boat drivers and skiers. The clubs tried to address these issues, but complaints to the NZ Marine Department in 1956 and 1957 almost led to a ban on the sport.

Recognizing the need for a solid foundation, the Auckland clubs initiated the formation of a National Organization in 1959. Close collaboration with the NZ Marine Department and Harbour Boards led to its inception in June 1959. The association's early officers included J. E. Farrelly as President, J. Whatnall as Vice-President, R. Archer as Secretary, and N. Finch as Treasurer. The association swiftly advocated for ski lanes and collaborated with regional associations to elevate the sport's standards.

1983 to 1987

As water skiing evolved, the National Association's scope became impractical, leading to each Division becoming an Association within itself. Trevor Fowler and John Weller Snr played crucial roles in this transformation, forming NZTWSA.

1988 to Present

In 1984, the Don Rallinson Foundation was established to raise funds for NZ representing Teams overseas, with support from water ski families. The Association's influence extended to Wakeboarding in the 1990s and Cable in 2016.

The National Association governs water skiing in New Zealand, liaising with global bodies and the NZ Government. They ensure compliance, growth, and safety while managing membership and providing expertise.

The NZ Water Ski National Championship Titles belong to the Association for all Divisions, along with representing skiers overseas.

The National Association has had only 11 Presidents in its 62-year history.