History of School Rowing and the birth of the Maadi Cup

School rowing in New Zealand began in 1885 when a group of Wanganui Collegiate boys first jumped in a four at the Wanganui Rowing Club; this school boy four would later race a Wanganui club crew the following year.

Inter-school rowing started at the Wellington Regatta in 1889 when Wanganui Collegiate, Wellington College and St Patricks College entered a fours race over one mile. Wanganui Collegiate won by three-quarters of a length.

Meanwhile in the South Island school rowing had also commenced with Christchurch Boys High School rowing out of the Canterbury Rowing Club in 1897, followed by Christ College in 1913, and Waitaki Boys High School began at the Oamaru Rowing Club in 1907.

Auckland joined school rowing much later in 1936 when Mt Albert Grammar School and Sacred Heart College were based at the West End Rowing Club and Waitemata Rowing Club respectively. But progress was rapid and soon four-oared races were taking place between the schools.

The Maadi Cup was first raced for in 1947 and was first won by Mt Albert Grammar School at a regatta in Wanganui. The Maadi Cup itself was donated as a token of friendship by Dr Youssef Bahgat, of the Cairo Rowing Club, Egypt, to the winners of a points competition between the Maadi Camp Rowing Club (the base of the Kiwi oarsmen of the Second N.Z.E.F.) and the Cairo Rowing Club. The Kiwis won this competition in 1943, 11 points to six after winning the open eights and fours and the novice pairs. Soon after the win the Maadi Camp Rowing Club Captain gifted the cup to the New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association and stated that the cup is to be used to foster inter-schoolboy eight-oared rowing for annual competition as a challenge cup. The cup was hereafter renamed the Maadi Cup and the illustrious competition was born. The current holder of the Maadi Cup is St Bede's College (2023).