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Squash New Zealand Celebrates New Life Members

Three of Squash New Zealand’s most long standing and respected administrators/athletes have been honoured for their contribution to the sport in New Zealand.

Grant Smith, Doug Lawrie and Wayne Werder were officially made Life Members at the Squash New Zealand Annual General Meeting in late March.


Grant Smith

Grant Smith’s life membership follows four decades of involvement in squash, first as a player, before becoming an admired administrator and event promoter.

Smith's commitment to promoting squash on the world stage is particularly noteworthy. In his role as President of Central Squash and Club President at SquashGym, Smith oversaw operations as Palmerston North played host to two prestigious World Championship events – the 2006 World Junior Men's Championship and the 2010 World Women's Team Championship. The events were extremely well run and elevated the profile of squash in New Zealand while also showcasing the country as a premier destination for international competition.

Smith’s organisational and interpersonal skills transcended squash and saw him elected Mayor of Palmerston North in 2015, a position which he holds to this day and one which he says keeps him even busier than his time in squash.


Doug Lawrie

Doug Lawrie is potentially the longest serving squash administrator in the country, with an impressive 75-year tenure in the sport.

Lawrie first became involved in squash as an athlete aged 15 in 1948. In the 1950’s he grew into one of the foremost players in New Zealand, winning the Cousins Shield (the premier event of the time) in 1956 and 57. He continued to play to a high level in the 60s while also moving into administration, working as a selector, team manager and a coach.

Lawrie’s hands-on approach to coaching, coupled with his keen tactical analysis moulded numerous national champions and world class players including Joanne Williams, Stuart Davenport and Tamsyn Leevey.

He has also sat on the Hall of Fame Board and Hall of Fame Selection Panel, helping to record the squash’s history in New Zealand and celebrate its athletes.

Lawrie is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in New Zealand squash history, with his involvement helping to shape the game in Aotearoa and Squash New Zealand Poipātū Aotearoa is pleased to name him a life member.


Wayne Werder

Wayne Werder’s involvement in squash began as an elite player, representing New Zealand at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998 where he competed in the mixed doubles and men’s doubles.

Transitioning into administrative roles, his impact on Squash New Zealand became even more pronounced. Serving as the Squash NZ Operations Manager for six years and later as Chair of the Squash NZ Board, Werder played a crucial role in shaping the direction of the organisation, with his leadership and vision instrumental in driving initiatives aimed at advancing the sport nationwide.

Werder has also held roles as Assistant Coach/Manager for various international championships, including the 2017 World Doubles Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games teams, where his extensive experience both on and off the court made him a valuable asset to New Zealand's athletes.

More recently Werder was instrumental in running the New Zealand Festival of Squash, acting as the Tournament Director in 2022 and 2023. The event not only brought international squash back to New Zealand but also showcased the country on the global stage. Werder’s vision and determination were key in making these events a resounding success.

Werder’s dedication to the sport has left an enduring legacy, and one which makes him a worthy recipient of a life membership.

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