General Richard Clement
New Zealand
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Petone, Wellington, New Zealand


AN ALL-ROUND SPORTSMAN MR Richard Clement Kirk - The death occurred today at his residence, Petone, of Mr Richard Clement Kirk known throughout New Zealand in his earlier days as a great all-round sportsman, and for the past five years as chairman of the New Zealand Golf Council. Born in North Auckland, the son of the late Rev. William Kirk, a Methodist minister who filled many circuits the late Mr Kirk lived in Nelson, Wellington, Christchurch, New Plymouth, and Auckland belore finally returning to Wellington. There was scarcely a branch of sport in which he did not take an active part and he was interested in all. While at the Auckland Grammar School and not yet sixteen he developed into a long distance runner of promise, competing with distinction in adult events. On returning to Wellington he was only a year at Wellington College when he was articled to Mr William Miller Lewis, partner of Sir Walter Buller. In 1882 he joined the Athletic Football Club, which, with the Wellington, Greytown, and Masterton Clubs, formed the Rugby Union of those days, and played in the first match of that season in the, second fifteen, reaching the senior team for the final against Greytown. He played for Wellington and Taranaki Combined against the touring New South Wales team in the davs' when Mr J.P. Firth, C.M.G., was one of the Wellington Club's forwards. Before he was twenty-one the late Mr Kirk passed his final law examination (in the same year as Sir.Charles Skerrett) and in 1881 commenced practice on his own account in Lambton Quay. In 1886 he married the daughter of. Mr J. W. Barnicoat. of Richmond, Nelson, and settled permanently in Petone. A keen angler he was also well known on the tennis courts at Petone, besides captaining the Petone. Cricket Club, which won the junior championship in1889. Mr Kirk had a wise and wide influence on the progress of Petone in its earlier days. He acted as legal adviser to the Town Board in the early 'eighties, and in 1885, at the request of the Board, undertook the offices of Town Clerk and Returning Officer. In 1883 the town was given borough status, and the following year Mr Kirk was elected Mayor, which office he held until 1901, with the exception of a break of a year in 1891-2. During these years, principally due to his leadership, the foundations of the borough's present prosperity were laid. He insisted on subdivisions being made to conform to future needs. On his retirement from the Petone Mayoralty Mr Kirk was appointed Borough Solicitor, and continued to assist the progress of the district. The amalgamation of the two boroughs was one of his great desires, and nearly thirty years ago Mr Kirk advocated it. For sixteen years following 1889 lie was a member of the Petone Navals. He developed into an enthusiastic and excellent rifle shot and was one. of the committee which, with Colonel Sommerville, first explored the swamp at Trentham with a view to leasing it and making a rifle range there. This was done and the first shoot was held in 1892. The late Mr Kirk was one of the founders of the Petone Rifle Club and shot with the Ballinger Brothers and others who made history in New Zealand rifle shooting; twice refusing trips to Bisley on account of business. In 1895, he won the Kynock Cup and was fourth, eight points' behind the winner for the ship Belt after putting two shots on the wrong target. He occupied fifth position at the meeting held the next year at Oamaru and headed the list of the New Zealand team which won the match against teams from the Australian States, and was next in the aggregate to a member of tho Queensland team who topped the list. When ho reached 40 years of age Mr Kirk took up golf, and with the same thoroughness which characterised his association with all other sports, with the aid of golfing literature, notably Harry Vardon's great work, and by watching better players, he was soon winning handicap events on the 16 mark, and after ten years had brought his handicap down to scratch at the age of 5O; four times holding the Hutt Club championship. The late Mr Kirk was captain of the Hutt Golf Club continuously during the time he played golf. Four years ago he was elected a lifo member. Five years ago he was professionally retained to frame a better constitution for the New Zealand Golf Council, and after the rules were adopted he was elected its chairman, a position he has retained since. During his term as chairman of the New Zealand Golf Council Mr Kirk was particularly interested in the prosperity and growth of outlying New Zealand clubs and made many tours of inspection, during which his advice proved invaluable. Always willing to assist, even in the case of the veriest tyro, hundreds of golfers owe a large proportion of their proficiency to his personal coaching. Golf owes more to him than to any other man in New Zealand, as besides many trophies given locally he was the originator of the Kirk-Windeyer Cup, which has done more to bring about inter-Australian contests and broaden the national standard of golf than anything ever previously thought of. Suffering an exceedingly painful internal head affliction for years, Mr Kirk yet retained his cheerfulness and interest in affairs with wonderful courage. He leaves a widow, a son (Mr J. F. Kirk of Petone) and daughter (Mrs Dennis Hursthouse, of Hastings). Another son, Edward, died of enteric contracted on Gallipoli.


Archive statistics 1903 - 1905

Tournaments New Zealand Championships - 1905 Wairarapa Tournament - 1905 Ashburton - 1904 New Zealand Championships - 1903

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