Tramping clubs in North Canterbury have undergone a number of transitions over the years. The first Rangiora Tramping Club (1932–36) tramped the local hills until about 1934 when its members developed an enthusiasm for mountaineering and renamed it the Rangiora Tramping and Mountaineering Club. However, by 1936 most had joined the Canterbury Mountaineering Club and the Rangiora club ceased to operate.
A second ‘RTC’ was formed in May 1939. Its activities ceased just two months later, in July, with a scribbled note in the minute book – ‘SECOND WORLD WAR now on.’
In 1946 the combined Rangiora Youth Recreation Club (RYRC) formed a winter sports section, with tramping, skating and skiing their main focus. By 1949 skiing became the strongest focus. The North Canterbury Ski Club (Broken River) was formed when the RYRC wound up in 1953. In the 1970s community activities such as Tramparama encouraged the public to get out into the hills. During one Tramparama at Craigieburn, two participants (Arch Fiddler and Alan Crossan) discussed forming a third RTC. A meeting was called in June 1976 and the current Rangiora Tramping Club was duly formed. More than 80 people ‘ranging from young children to those over 60 years’ participated in the first tramp, to Okuku Pass – Mt Karetu.
Since that time RTC tramps have taken place throughout the South Island and Stewart Island. Our longest club tramp was from Blenheim to Oxford, over 28 days, in 2004. One club visit was even made to the North Island in 2007! Local hills offer plenty of tramping options and range after range lies beyond – the Puketeraki, Craigieburn, Torlesse, Hurunui and Kaikoura. Within easy driving distance we have the mountains surrounding Lewis and Arthur’s passes. We have an excellent relationship with the DOC centre in Rangiora. RTC members assist with volunteer planting, predator control and various other conservation activities. Our annual programme also includes working with ECAN on clearing wilding pines from the Waimakariri basin.
RTC holds 10 monthly meetings each year, on the first Tuesday of every month except December and January, at 7:30pm at the Rangiora DOC centre.
Membership numbers in recent years have remained pleasingly stable at around 160 members (110 family units). Most members are from North Canterbury or Christchurch city, but others are spread throughout the South Island with some from the North Island. Visitors from the UK, Canada and Estonia, who lived for a period in New Zealand, have also joined the club at times. We affiliated with the FMC in 1984, which has been very positive, providing a voice at a national level.
Every so often we find a reason for a great social function, where like-minded folk come together and discuss shared memories of 37 years of wonderful trips and fellowship. Our 36th Anniversary Dinner, late in 2012, was one such successful event, with a fully representative group of attendees, from founding club members through to recent recruits. The RTC is a very family-friendly club, with a reputation for openly welcoming and including new people.