The Navy Club was formerly the Auckland Branch of the Ex-Royal Naval Men’s Association. That entity began in 1929 as the Chatham & Philomel Old Boys Association, which was formed by a few former members of those ships’ companies. It was later renamed the White Ensign Club to accommodate former members of other ships’ companies.
In 1934 the White Ensign Club wound up, due to mainly the world depression, but a few stalwarts continued to meet under the title Ex-Navy Men’s Association. In October that year the title was altered to Ex Royal Naval Men’s Association, and in 1936 the association was registered as an incorporated society and the words “of New Zealand (Inc)” added. In May 1937 the association moved into premises at 24 Wyndam Street Auckland, which was officially opened by Captain I.G. Glennie of HMS Achilles.
In 1966, the Auckland Branch of the association moved to premises at 44 Broadway, Newmarket, and while it thrived initially, membership fell away substantially toward the turn of the century. This was exacerbated by a move to combine all the naval associations that had arisen over the years into a single national entity, a proposition not universally accepted. However, the national Ex Royal Navalmen’s Association was dissolved in 2007, although the Auckland Branch remained in operation.
By 2014, membership at Auckland was down to single figures, and a project of rejuvenation was begun, principally led by Maurice Mitchell and Brian Keegan. The name of the entity was changed to The Navy Club Incorporated and a new constitution adopted. It was also decided to adopt a new operating model and the Newmarket building was sold and the proceeds placed in a private wealth investment through a licensed provider. This asset, now valued at over $3 million, provides a steady income for the club, which is used to support member’s luncheons and other events at commercial venues, and also provides the funding for our welfare programme