Police Sport manager Kerry Fenton has been made a life member of the organisation after more than three decades of service as a member and administrator.
Sport has always been a big part of Kerry Fenton’s life. Just ask his wife.
As their wedding day approached in 1985, he realised it clashed with the weekend of his local golf club championships, so he wanted to move the wedding date. Perhaps it could be two weeks’ earlier, on her birthday, he suggested hopefully.
Unsurprisingly, the answer was no. Kerry came up with another plan. In the unlikely event he made it to the finals, could he play the day after the wedding? Believing he’d never make it that far, she agreed.
But he did, and the day after they were married, Kerry left the house at 6am to play 36 holes of golf, leaving his wife, already a golf widow, to carry on the celebrations with her family. To make matters worse, he lost the final, returning home dejected at 4pm. Thankfully, he says, all was forgiven during the honeymoon.
But did he learn his lesson? Three hours after his wife gave birth to their first child in Wellington, Kerry was catching a plane to Blenheim to a golf tournament.
The anecdotes reflect Kerry’s love of sports which dates back to the 1970s. It started with tennis and then he gravitated to golf, a logical choice as both his parents played. He picked it up quickly and went on to become the greenkeeper at the
Te Marua Golf Club in Upper Hutt before joining Police in 1984.
He got into the administration side of sport early too as a junior club captain at Trentham Golf Club after just a year of playing. That led on to working with Wellington Golf and eventually New Zealand Golf as the junior team manager.
At the same time, he was Police Sport’s golf co-ordinator, organising tournaments against New Zealand’s Combined Services, the quadrangular Australian Defence Forces and New Zealand Fire Service. He also held several positions on Police Sport’s regional and national committees before retiring from Police in 2019 to take up the general manager job.
He says that one of his proudest achievements over the past 30 years was arranging the New Zealand Junior Māori team to play in the Police Golf Championships at Manor Park in the early 2000s.
“There was a young fella in the junior Māori team named Riki Kauika who was a pretty handy golfer. He ended up joining Police and won last year’s Police Sport North Island Championships. It’s funny how that happens,” he says.
He’s also proud of the evolution of Police Sport’s national tournaments and has ambitions to continue growing the popular Winter Games.
Kerry was presented with his life membership at the 2022 Winter Games in Lower Hutt in August.