The Westlake Boys' High School Rowing Society was first established in 1970 when a dedicated group of parents decided to assist a number of students who were keen to get involved in rowing. The Society was incorporated in 1991. 

From a small beginning of 8 rowers, the Westlake Boys' Rowing Society has now grown to a typical size of 50-60 rowers per year - one of the largest and best known school squads in the country.

In the years of Westlake Boys' Rowing, the school has achieved many awards for its success at the many regattas held throughout the rowing season, including the Maadi Cup Regatta, the annual national school championships held alternately at Lake Karapiro and Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.  Its first Maadi Cup win was in 1976 and then they won again in 1983 and 1984. In addition the school has won many medals in the different championship titles.

Athletes who started their rowing careers at Westlake and who then progressed to represent New Zealand in successful crews include:

  • Mike Stanley - Gold Medallist at 1982, 1983 World Championships
  • Barrie Mabbot - Gold Medallist at 1983 World Championships
  • Andrew Hay - Coxswain of the 1982, 1983 Gold Medal-winning Eights at the World Championships
  • Eric Verdonk - Medallist at 1988 Olympics

Westlake Boys' High School puts plenty of emphasis on its success in rowing. Positions in the squad are keenly sought after and the enthusiasm and dedication of the rowers are immense.

Leading up to the North Island Champs and the Nationals, weekly training session times can add up to over 20 hours - a considerable commitment when the boys' ages and exam pressures are considered. Interestingly, the typical academic ability of the boys would be above average - perhaps an indication of what applied commitment can do for them in their studies as well as their sports.

With over 30 years of training athletes to a high standard, the society has built up a considerable amount of plant and equipment to enable it to carry out its functions as well as it does. The replacement value today of its fleet of skiffs, coach boats and trailers, truck and skiff trailer, training ergs, marquee and ancillary equipment would be in the vicinity of $500,000.

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