Club History

History of the Savage and Orphan's Clubs of New Zealand

In the Mid 1800s a group of actors, musicians, literary and art people who used to meet in a pub in Drury Lane, London, England decided they should form a club of their own where they could play up and entertain one another away from the glare of the public.

Once it was formed they needed a name and they finally decided to call it the "Savage Club" naming it after "Richard Savage" a not so famous poet and dramatist who lived 100 years before.

Over the years many famous people visited the London Savage Club such as Royal family, Mark Twain, Lord Kitchen, Somerset Maugham, Sir Earnest Shackleton, Prince Phillip, Jack Hawkins, Sir Robert Menzies, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Arthur Askey just to name a few.

It was formed in October 1856 and within 30 years clubs had been formed in New Zealand, in Dunedin, Auckland and Invercargill. At their peak there were 46 clubs with a total membership of 5,000. Such was the growth that they had closed membership and a breakaway group was formed under the name of "Orphan's Clubs"

In 1926 the "Association of Kindred Clubs of New Zealand Inc." was formed in Dunedin to control and look after both groups with a bi-eninnial conference every two years. The committee was made up of men from both islands alternating the office bearers and conferences each time. This still operates today although there are now only 23 clubs with 1300 members.

At the conference the host club provides the entertainment on the Saturday night and the visitors on the Sunday night with the conference on Saturday afternoon.

Clubs on average meet monthly between April and October with raids or visits to and from other clubs in both islands. The aims are to provide rational entertainment all the time and the motto is Tact - Talent and tolerance (The three tees with no reference to politics or religion to disturb the peace.

Because of the decline in clubs and membership, by the 1990's various changes were needed and in 1998 women were admitted as full members, whereas before women had their own clubs known as "Wahines" or "Pani" and operated in a similar manner.

Membership is open to all but you must be nominated and seconded by a financial nenber of any club.

                   (This explanation compiled by Past Dominion President/Secretary, Dick Dodds on 30th July 2010)

 

 

Although not a charity in the strict sense of the word it was the clubs desire to offer assistance to members and widows in distressed circumstances and where possible assist worthwhile causes and this they did with the proceeds from public concerts members organised and conducted.  (from Brother Savages & Guests by Percy V Bradshaw 1875 -1957)