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When the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club was established in 1899 it had a Membership of four comprising of Messrs V Harris, who was Chairman, E Clarkson, H Mace and W Rodd. Mr Harris was reported to have said in August 1901 that from a modest beginning to its present proud position the Membership had increased to 160. According to the books of account it could not have exceeded 143 as the total subscriptions at one guinea amounted to £150/3/-.
Membership continued to increase and by 1909 it exceeded 220 reaching 463 by the 1912-13 season. At this stage the Committee decided that no more Members would be elected until a new Stewards and Members Stand was built. During the 1914-18 War the Membership decreased and by the time peace was declared the Membership was down to 267. At the Annual General Meeting in July 1915 it was decided that Members away at the War be considered financial Members and on their return they be made Honorary Life Members of the Club. From the 1918-19 season onwards the Membership numbers steadily increased passing the 400 mark in 1923 and reaching the peak of 495 in the 1929-30 season. The numbers fell away during the 30ís but by 1937-38 the decline gave way to an increase once again with the numbers in1944-45 reaching 600.
Due to the shortage of stand accommodation the Committee decided to place a maximum on the number of Members and in the 1947-48 season this was fixed at 700. The limit was increased in 1949 t0 720, in 1955 to 750, in 1956 to 850, in 1958 to 1,000 and in 1960 the maximum Membership reached 1,350. With the increased amount of trotting at Addington and a reduction in the number of stand privileges issued, Membership was increased in 1966 to 1400 and in 1975 to 1600. In 1979 the Membership was increased to 2,000 an further increased in 1983 to 2,200 thus eliminating the waiting list which had been in existence for over 25 years.
The initial subscription of £1/1/- was increased to £2/2/- in the 1915-16 season and it remained at that figure until the 1952 Annual General Meeting when after 37 years it was doubled. From 1961 subscriptions were frequently increased and in that year were raised by £1/1/- to £5/5/- and at the AGM of 1966 it was increased to £7, this being converted to $14 in the following year. From 1973 when the subscription was increased to $20 at the Annual General Meeting, increases became a fairly regular item of business on the Agenda. 1975 saw it raised to $25, 1977 to $35, 1981 to $40 and 1982 to $50.
In March 1906 a Special General Meeting of Members was held and a motion that an entrance fee of £2/2/- be introduced was carried. This was increased to £3/3/- at a Special General Meeting held in July 1915 and at the same meeting the Members subscription was increased to £2/2/-. In 1967, with the introduction of decimal currency, the entrance fee was rounded to $7. and it remained at that figure until 1975 when it was increased to $10. The latter figure was held until 1982 when the entrance fee was raised to $25.
In 1908 a new class of Membership was created whereby business firms or their representatives were accepted as subscribing Members (with ticket privileges only). Four took advantage of this new classification which remained mostly in single figures until the 1927-28 season when the number reached 13 peaking in 1938-39 at 55. This class of Member became known as an Honorary Subscribing Member in the 1925-26 season. In 1940 Members in this category were invited on payment of their entrance fee to become full Members of the Club but only a limited number accepted the invitation.
During World War II Members on active service had their subscriptions waived while they were overseas. In 1945 it was agreed that returned soldier applicants be elected Members of the Club in the proportion of one to five applicants on the waiting list. In 1947, as it was decided to limit the Membership, soldiers and others were elected at this stage on a one to one basis. At a meeting of the Committee held a month later it was, however, decided that all returned servicemen on the waiting list be elected forthwith.
At the Annual General Meeting in 1948 a new rule (5A) was adopted and this allowed widows of deceased Members to become Honorary Members and on payment of the current subscription to be entitled to ticket privileges only. At the Annual General Meeting held in 1980 rule 5A was altered to allow both widows and widowers to be elected Honorary Members within six months of the date of the death of their spouse.
During the late 1930ís many requests were received by trainers for election as Members of the Club but these were declined. The Committee, however, passed a resolution in August 1939 which allowed trainers wives to be elected to the Club. In December 1947 it was reported that of the 51 ladies on the Membership list 31 were widows of late Members and there were also ten widows on the Honorary list. It was decided that if they so desired, widows be elected Honorary Members and they be granted full ticket privileges on payment of the current annual subscription.
In 1975 it was decided to create a mercantile Membership by the election of corporate bodies registered in New Zealand as defined by Section 29 of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. Such bodies were to pay double entrance fee and on payment of double annual subscription to be entitled to all ticket privileges of an ordinary Member. Such bodies were excluded under the rules to the privilege relating to the election of Officers.
In the 1978 AGM the rules of the Club were amended to create Honorary Veteran Member (Rule 6A), that is those with forty years continuous Membership. When qualified these Members were to be advised by the Committee that they were entitled to all the privileges of ordinary Membership without payment of the annual subscription.
In July 1979 the Committee decided that sufficient applicants for membership be elected to bring the Membership up to two thousand.
In April 1980 it was agreed that the proposal received from Hutchison Hull & Co. that the membership records be programmed into their computer at an overall initial cost of $2,000 to be shared between the three Clubs, with running costs estimated between $400 and $550 per annum.
In June 1982 the Committee recommended to the Clubs that the subscriptions for the 1982-83 season be this Club $50, and Canterbury Park and New Brighton Clubs $25 each. The Met Treasurer, Mr Dalzell, gave notice that he intended to move that the Members subscription be increased from $40 to $50 and the entrance fee from $10 to $25.
At the 1982 AGM the rules of the Club were amended to make provision for any Member (other than a corporate member) to pay at any time a lump sum subscription of $500 entitling such Member to Membership for ten years. Any unexpired portion of the 10 year term could be transferred to another person, provide such person was elected a Member under the rules of the Club. The transferee would be exempt from paying any entrance fee.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker
Appendix No. Eight: MEMBERSHIP
Summary of Maximum Number of Members
1960 June 1,150
1960 Dec 1,350
Summary of Alterations in Membership Fees and Entrance Fees
Year Membership Fee Entrance Fee
1899 £1/1/- -
1906 - £2/2/-
1915 £2/2/- £3/3/-
1952 £4/4/- -
1961 £5/5/- -
1966 £7/-/- -
1967 $14.00 $7.00
1973 $20.00 -
1975 $25.00 $10.00
1977 $35.00 -
1981 $40.00 -
1982 $50.00 $25.00
1986 $66.00 (inc GST) $28.00 (inc GST)
1997 $95.00 (inc GST)
1998 Club Amalgamation