Paul Tibbutt - Pakuranga Tennis Club | Faces of Auckland Sport and Recreation Volunteers

Published on Sunday 16 October, 2022

Paul Tibbutt’s journey as a volunteer has seen him wear many hats – but his most recent efforts to help mark a major milestone for Pakuranga Tennis Club have seen him honoured as a volunteer of the year. 

After joining Pakuranga with his wife in the 1990s, Paul played interclub tennis competitively for many years, and still turns out as a reserve player to this day when needed. 

But Paul’s commitment to the club goes much deeper than solely hitting the court. He’s also turned his hand to a range of volunteer roles, from two three-year terms as Club Captain and serving 14 years on the club committee, through to manning the bar and mowing the club’s lawns every fortnight. 

“My wife and I have played tennis all our lives and belonged to various clubs,” says Paul. “We’ve been living in the Pakuranga/Howick area for a while now though, and even with a couple of house changes, we've stuck with this club for more than 30 years.” 

It was the desire to give something back that led to Paul putting his hand up to volunteer. 

“The club's been a real mainstay of our sporting and social life,” Paul continues. “While playing tennis is the main motivation for being part of the club, you get far more satisfaction out of being a member if you’re doing something around the place to help out.” 

“You feel more ownership of the organisation by volunteering because you're involved in making decisions on the club’s future. I take a lot of satisfaction in seeing the club being successful and well presented.” 

With 2022 marking Pakuranga Tennis Club’s centenary year, Paul has taken on what’s been his biggest and most enjoyable volunteering role to date: creating a programme to suitably celebrate 100 years of the club’s existence 

Paul says: “I really enjoyed [volunteering on the centenary] because I could put in place a lot of my work experience as a former Event Manager for Air New Zealand, and work with others in the club.”  

This wide-ranging project involved Paul working with a committee to plan, organise, promote and deliver events including a cocktail party, gala dinner and family fun day, and producing a 70-page publication on the club’s history.  

His efforts were recognised when he was named Tennis Auckland’s Volunteer of the Year in 2021/22, helping deliver what Pakuranga Tennis Club described as “an outstanding 100-year celebration” during the pandemic. 

“The final weekend was delayed four times due to Covid,” says Paul, “so that added some challenges to the event. But it’s been a highlight of my time at the club, because of how many people were involved and the profile that we managed to achieve.” 

What’s Paul’s advice to anyone considering putting their hand up to volunteer at their local sport or recreation club? Put simply - “don’t delay! 

“Get involved at a reasonably early stage - it brings so much personal satisfaction if you do get involved, and it doesn't have to be a full-time thing. There's a fair bit of work involved in pulling an event like the centenary together, but any support you can provide, big or small, will make a difference.” 

Paul is one of 300,000 volunteers who are the face of sport in recreation in Auckland. 

Check out other inspiring volunteer stories like Paul's here.