History

Otaki Contract Bridge Club was founded in 1983 on the initiative of Mrs Edith Land. But organised bridge in Otaki first began in 1924 with the Otaki Ladies' Bridge Club (OLBC).

The OLBC met at members' houses for one to three tables of rubber bridge at stakes of 2 cents per 100 points. Originally, cream sponges, ladies' fingers and cucumber sandwiches were the order of the day, and hat and gloves were de rigeur. A child's small brown suitcase, engraved O.L.B.C in gold lettering, held the minute books, playing cards, pencils and scorepads. This suitcase served from 1924 until the club disbanded in 2011. In 2013, the case and its contents, and other artifacts, were presented to the Otaki Contract Bridge Club by Edna Sams on behalf of the Otaki Ladies Bridge Club.

In 1999, to mark its 75th anniversary, the OLBC donated a trophy to the OCBC for the Waitohu Individual Handicap competition. The inaugural winner was Edna Whittaker, a member of both clubs.

Foundation members of the Otaki Ladies Bridge Club in 1924 were Mrs Jo D'Ath, Mrs Bertha Coventry, Mrs G Harper, Dr Gertrude Atmore, Mrs D Milne, Mrs C C Holmes, Mrs J Buckrell, Miss Ruth Gilmer, and Miss Alison Coventry (substitute).

Miss Coventry was then in her 20s. As Mrs Alison Simcox, she continued to play bridge until the age of 96. Other members include Thelma McLean (lived to over 100), Phyl Powell (played to 97) and Marjorie Cooper (played into her 90s). They must have been quite some cucumber sandwiches.