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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



New Zealand Amateur Swimming Association

On 4 January 1890 Roland W. St. Clair, secretary of the Auckland Swimming Club, convened the first of a series of meetings which led to the formation, later in the year, of the New Zealand Amateur Swimming Association, the first officers of the Association being Sir William Fox, president, and R. W. St. Clair, secretary. With variations to make them applicable to local conditions, the rules of the Amateur Swimming Association (England) were accepted by the New Zealand clubs. At first the association's headquarters were in Auckland, but this was not acceptable to South Island members. In 1896, therefore, they were transferred to Christchurch, though the change was opposed bitterly by Auckland. St. Clair withdrew his club from the Association and in January 1898 formed a rival body, the New Zealand Amateur Association Registered. For several years these two organisations fought for the control of New Zealand swimming. The breach between the two was not healed until 1904, when the centre system was devised to meet Auckland's and other localities' demands for a measure of autonomy. Since then the N.Z.A.S.A. has remained the controlling body of the sport in New Zealand.

In the 75 years since the N.Z.A.S.A. was founded, swimming has become one of the country's major summer sports. There were only three clubs in existence in 1890, but, by 1963, these had increased to 197 clubs – grouped in 16 regional centres – having a total registered membership of 26,000.