The WORTAKI shield was established in 1958 for competition between Ōtaki Surf Lifesaving Club and Worser Bay Lifesaving and Swimming Club.
When Ōtaki club was reformed in 1953 it received great support from clubs in the area. However, a special bond was established with Worser Bay and the competition was held annually for over twenty years. The Worser Bay clubbies really liked visiting Ōtaki because it was a surf beach and their main experience with waves was when the ferry went past. Ōtaki boys liked going to Wellington to enjoy the bright lights and excitement of the city. Usually, the competition was a close-fought battle, often ending in a draw, and the winner was decided on the drinking races at the after-match function.
At the time of Dave Foster’s death Chris Billing, a former Worser Bay member, New Zealand representative, and Hall of Fame inductee, wrote “I can still remember and hold vivid memories of sitting around the table at Dave’s home being introduced to eating pigs trotters, lovingly cooked by Dave. This was about the time that the Wortaki was getting put together by Dave and Ken Mitchell”.
The shield rested in the Ōtaki clubrooms where it survived the fire in 1987 that destroyed the building and surf life-saving equipment. It seems that as the fire was built the shield fell off the wall and went through the floor where it was found when the building was demolished. To commemorate the occasion it was cleaned up enough to read the inscriptions and attached to a new shield for protection.
The last recorded event was in April 2014. We had held the shield for more than 30 years and it needed defending. Needless to say, it still hangs proudly on our walls!