The ATC building located just inside the main entrance to the Club at Alexandra Park and known as the “Noel Taylor New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame” houses a collection of harness racing memorabilia.
In accordance with a Deed created in 1997 the Auckland Trotting Club agreed with Noel Taylor to construct a building in which memorabilia would be displayed on land owned by the club and to call that ATC building the NZ Trotting Hall of Fame. Noel loaned the Club $650,000 to enable the Club to construct the building and to fit out the premises.
Under the terms of the Deed, Noel Taylor covenanted to sign a Codicil to his Will providing for a legacy equivalent to the amount of the loan should it still be owing to him on his death.
Noel Taylor died on 2 October 1998 and in accordance with the Codicil the amount of the loan owed by the Club to Noel was forgiven.
The Auckland Trotting Club owns the land and the building occupied by the Hall of Fame. There is no debt owed by the Club to Noel or his estate.
Importantly the Deed also provides that the Club shall consult with Noel Taylor or his family if at any time in the future the Club wishes for whatever reason to change or vary the use of the building.
The Board of the Auckland Trotting Club, like most racing clubs who are developing plans for a sustainable future, are investigating the best commercial use of all land owned by the Club.
Given the importance of the Hall of Fame and the legacy provided by the Noel Taylor family, Club President Jamie MacKinnon arranged a meeting with Grant Taylor, son of the late Noel Taylor and family spokesperson. It was put to Grant that the Club was considering some alternative options for the Club’s land and building currently occupied by the Hall of Fame and could he please discuss this with his family.
Grant has confirmed back to Jamie that if Noel was alive today he would want what was in the best interests for the Club and therefore he and his family would support the actions the Board might choose to take.
The site occupied by the Hall of Fame is prime Club real estate and acting in the best interests of the Club and its members the topic was raised and discussed at the most recent AGM held on 26 October. The Board proposed the repurposing of the building and moving the collections so they are housed inside the Club’s rooms where all members at their leisure can enjoy perusing memorabilia of the champions of harness racing.
The members gave their overwhelming support for this and with this mandate the Auckland Trotting Club are now considering options for the Hall of Fame memorabilia. The building itself is subject to an engineering report on how transportable the building might be.
Planning is also underway to display the collection of memorabilia in the Alex Café, Elsu and Lyell Creek rooms.
The Hall of Fame Committee have expressed no desire to work with the Club and announced at the October AGM that they would be looking to send all of the memorabilia back to the clubs and people who had donated it.
Moving forward the Hall of Fame has been issued with a Notice of Termination of Tenancy which was delivered to their registered office on 7 December. This notice requires the premises to be vacated by 31 March 2023.
The Board and Management of the Auckland Trotting Club hope that commonsense will prevail and that the Hall of Fame Committee will engage with them and that a smooth transition of relocating the collection of memorabilia inside the Club will be possible so all race goers (ATC members and the public) can enjoy them whenever they are on course.