Runanga Workingman’s Club – History in the Heartland

Workingmen’s Club are a type of private social club first established in industrial areas of the UK in the early 19th century providing recreation and education for working class men and women.  In NZ they are an integral part of small communities.  There isn’t so much emphasis on education more on recreation so communities can socialise, play pool, snooker, darts or watch sport on big screen TVs.  Many also provide food and entertainment through quizz nights, live music etc.

Runanga workingmans club wall art

The Runanga Workingman’s Club is a living education through its Historic Sports Wall of Fame, a photographic showcase of the numerous achievements of many from the community be it Rugby League, basketball, tennis, boxing, cross-country running and marathon running – just to name a few.  One example from the commemorate wall is Dave McKenzie.  Dave won the Boston Marathon 50 years ago and was invited back to Boston this year to join in their 50th year celebrations – a wonderful achievement for a young man back in 1967 from small town New Zealand.

runamga workingman's club mural

Most recently the Club building has had a facelift on the outside thanks to two very talented local artists Mark Haldane and Les Holmes, showcasing some of the industrial history, political and sporting heroes from this small community.

runanga workingmans club wall art

Runanga workingmans club mural

These guys have done a most amazing job and driving past now you can’t help but have a smile on your face.

Runanga workingman's club wall art

If you’re visiting the Grey District make sure you allow some time to visit Runanga and call in at the Workingman’s Club for a history lesson with the Sports Wall of Fame and the great art work on the exterior of the building helping tell the story.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Runanga Workingman’s Club is in the small village of Runanga 7kms north of Greymouth on State Highway 6.



About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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4 Responses to Runanga Workingman’s Club – History in the Heartland

  1. Pat says:

    That is an impressive mural! What a great idea. Thanks for posting that.

  2. guestnz says:

    Hi Jan & Stephen, it’s such a lovely idea to point out those local sites. It’s so easy to just drive by without having a ‘clue’. Travel has so much to do with new experiences and learning about others culture, history and stories. As the great German philosopher Goethe said: ‘reisen bildet’ (travel educates) – himself he travelled in the mid 1700’s around Europe (mainly Italy) getting inspiration for his work. Again, well done Jan & Stephen for pointing your local culture, history and stories out!

    • coastingnz says:

      You are so right Pam and Michael – even for locals we sometimes don’t know or appreciate what can often be right here in front of it. Love this idea of showcasing local history.

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