STORIES OF PADDER TENNIS

We are collecting stories of padder tennis being played around the country, now, and in the past. Here are some of the stories we have received.

Halcombe School

"At Halcombe School (near Feilding, Manawatu) padder tennis is close to being our all-time favourite game. We bring the nets out a few times a year and then it's game on! Heaps and heaps of kids bring their own home-made bats to school and the break time battles are epic. We also have an interhouse competition where the senior students battle it out. Lots of our staff play too. Feel free to visit anytime to test yourself against our kids who quite fancy themselves as being professionals! All the best with sharing this cool sport with the rest of Kiwiland." -Di Simpson (Deputy Principal, Senior Team; Halcombe School, NZ) 2020

Ruia Morrison

"In the early 1940s when I was about eight years old, Daddy became a prime mover in the community to build tennis courts at Te Koutu, in Rotorua. Te Koutu is situated across the Utuhina River from Ohinemutu where my grandparents lived. Being multi-skilled as a farmer Daddy was called upon to tutor at the recently established Māori Arts & Crafts School for World War II veterans (soldiers). Daddy was also part of a small group of men who worked on the development of the area. They built a bridge, fundraised for the Marae and stripped a paddock of grass to lay tennis courts. "Us kids hovered around making a nuisance of ourselves, so Daddy made me a bat out of an old board, so that I could practise hitting a tennis ball on the walls of our weather-board house. I tried hard not to let it bounce, I could even stop it on the bat. However, Mummy became extremely stressed with the continual banging noise on the walls of the house, Daddy said a volley board was the only answer. "I had a pretty good forehand and an even better backhand that I'd honed on a 4x2 patu [club].” Morrison's gift had humble beginnings, born as she walked through Koutu paddocks to Rotorua Primary. "For some reason I always carried a stick, hitting the trees along the way, and at home it was my job to mow the grass with a hand sickle so I guess both these taught me good hand-eye co-ordination."

Paul Grubi

Like many New Zealand kids in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I spent every waking hour I could playing padder tennis at school. After school and on the weekends I played tennis against my brothers and their friends. Through daily practice and a strong will to win, I entered into tournaments and earned myself a national Under 12 tennis singles ranking of # 2 in New Zealand behind one of New Zealand’s most successful tennis professionals ever, Brett Steven. Brett and I then teamed up to win four consecutive 14’s and 16’s junior national doubles titles together. After finishing high school, a ten year overseas journey took me to the States on a university tennis scholarship. After the States, I wanted to go pro but the European clay courters were to strong for this kiwi serve volleyer so I transitioned comfortably into the European semi pro lifestyle working at a club in Germany. Fast forward 20 years, I have returned to Wellington, New Zealand where it all started for me on the padder tennis courts.