North Harbour Softball can trace its origins back to post World War II. During this time three families with North American connections helped establish teams on Auckland’s North Shore. The founding families were the Hinds from the USA (Jo and Pat), the Malones (Ray from the USA and Zoe), and the Riddles from Canada (Wilf and Grace).

The association originally became a sub-association of Auckland Softball. Teams were established in Northcote, Birkenhead, Bayswater and Takapuna for games on the North Shore. There was also a combined team, which competed in the Major B section of the Auckland competition. A highlight for this team was the need to use a car ferry to get to their games, as the Auckland Harbour Bridge was yet to be built.  In 1954 the only Senior team played at Cornwall Park, which the others played on the Shore at either Bayswater or Takapuna.  

The Originals Clubs were Navy, ECB, Northcote and Birkdale.


North Shore continued to be a sub-association of Auckland Softball. During this time softball established itself at Becroft Park in Forrest Hill. It was a period of growth and softball absolutely flourished on the North Shore.


The 1970s witnessed the most intensive period of change for softball on the North Shore.

The beginning of the 1970s saw Auckland Softball Association encourage North Shore’s independence. This resulted in the first unofficial representative team competing under the North Shore banner at a tournament. A means team was selected to contest a tournament in Taranaki in 1971 and they had immediate success by winning the tournament. Members of that team included Bob Dowd, Ron Riddle, Ed Issacs, Chris Sontag, Dick Brookes, Alan Esdale and Jim Malone.

In 1972 North Shore Softball became its own association enabling all future representative teams to compete on an official basis wearing the colours of green and white. During this time, Ken Morgan was instrumental in North Shore Softball being relocated from Becroft Park to our current home of Rosedale Park, Albany. Ken predicted the growth of softball and intensely lobbied the Takapuna City Council to secure Rosedale Park for us. Not all administrators of the day agreed with this approach, thinking that Albany was too far away from the central North Shore. Ken persisted and was eventually successful in securing Rosedale Park.

1976 saw the move from Becroft Park to Rosedale finally occur. The new grounds were shared with North Shore Women’s Hockey. The move made North Shore Softball the envy of most New Zealand softball associations, as it had the largest area for softball in New Zealand with 20 grass diamonds. Added to this was a tin shed (rented from North Shore Women's Hockey), which served as both an administrative headquarters and a shop. A second tin shed was added and the first bar established in one of the sheds. It was a somewhat rudimentary bar, as the beer would cool in an old bath while players sweated it out on the diamonds!


The beginning of the 1980s saw the association become an incorporated society in October 1981. With the proliferation of both softball and hockey, the sheds were no longer adequate. Both hockey and softball recognised the need for larger and up-to-date clubrooms. North Shore Softball’s Bob Leveloff (President), Don Freeman (Vice President) and Fay Price (Secretary), were the driving force behind working with North Shore Women's Hockey to build the clubrooms. It was a one level building (the lower level of the present clubrooms) and was officially opened by the Mayor of Takapuna, Mr. Fred Thomas, in September 1983.

In 1986 the association had a name and uniform change. The old North Shore Softball name and colours of green and white ceased to exist. As in keeping with various regional sports bodies on the North Shore, we also adopted the title North Harbour to embrace the whole of our region. Likewise, we adopted the standard North Harbour colours of black, white and cardinal red. The new name of North Harbour Softball Association had come into being.

1986 also saw a great deal of hard work result in the international standard softball (skin) diamonds being created. They opened just in time for North Harbour Softball to host the Winfield Men's Championships in January 1987. The lighting of these diamonds was to come eight years later.


In 1993 the clubrooms were extended. This included a new upper level containing offices, toilets, a kitchen, and a conference area and viewing deck that overlooked the skin diamonds. The Mayor of North Shore City, Anne Hartley, opened the extension. The other significant infrastructure development was the flood lighting of the skin diamonds which was completed in February 1995.

North Shore Women’s Hockey combined with the men and moved to purpose built facilities at Rosedale South in 1997. This resulted in the partnership between North Harbour Softball and North Harbour Hockey being dissolved. From this, a new partnership with Albany United Football Club ensued and the Rosedale Park Sports Trust was created in April 1998. The trust has representatives from both bodies with the aim to foster sport by providing and maintaining the clubrooms at Rosedale Park North. During the late 1990s we also forfeited two diamonds to hockey to allow them to create a sand hockey turf. This brought our total number of diamonds to 18, being 16 grass and 2 skin diamonds.


The new millennium saw the association further establish itself as a top class venue for hosting tournaments. Of note, we hosted the Oceania Men’s World qualifying tournament in 2008 along with many national and regional tournaments including age group, school and open grades. There was also an improvement in results at national tournaments by our representative teams. This produced a constant stream of North Harbour players being selected for national honours. Our most significant contribution to national teams was the perennial Northcote Club player Brad Rona, who also became the Vice Captain of the Black Sox. During this decade we changed our governance arrangement from a committee to a board structure as an outcome of the 2003 constitution being adopted. It was also the decade that saw our first paid employee position filled.

The 2005/06 season, our NHSA men won the NFC in Wellington.

History was made 2002 by being the first Association to have 5 Females go away with NZ Teams

Fay Freeman – NZ White Sox Manager

Raewyn Judson - Junior White Sox Manager

Ngamoko Hiku - Junior White Sox - Player

Ronnie Gurney - Development Team Australia – Statistician Boys

Victoria Reyland - Development Team Australia – Girls

Softball NZ awards

Ronnie Gurney - Scorer of the Year 2006/07 and 2008/09


This period was marked by the onfield success the first father and son team combination of Brad and Pita Rona selected in a Black Sox team; 6 of our boys selected in the Black Sox junior team and 2 of our girls selected in the White Sox training squad.  We were also the first softball association to become a Kiwisport contractor and go into schools teaching tee-ball and softball basics.

In 2013 North Harbour hosted, on behalf of Softball NZ, the highly successful Men’s World Softball Championship.  This was a world-class event with Fay Freeman, Bob Leveloff, Ray Tibbits, Sharon Kawe and Trevor Smith forming the nucleus of the Board of 2013 Softball Limited.

In preparation for the 2013 Men’s World Softball Championship, a $2 million upgrade of the park was completed.  This included a new 500 seat stadium, realignment of diamond 2 and upgrading of both diamonds to a world-class standard, a new scoreboard and a new sound system.  The clubroom was also upgraded in time for the 2013 event. 

In 1995 NHSA hosted the Pitching for Atlanta – Women’s Tournament (qualifier between NZ, Australia and Papua New Guinea).  Unfortunately NZ lost final to Papua New Guinea. 

Ed Isaac has been inducted into SNZ Hall Of Fame

In 2017 North Harbour hosted the highly successful World Masters Games Softball, with softball the second biggest sport included in the competition.  An outstanding 10 days of softball was held with North Harbour teams competing alongside teams from Australian, Canadian, Japan, UK and Italy for the title. 

North Harbour legend Brad Rona retired in 2019 having represented New Zealand at 6 world championships.  He was an outstanding member of Black Sox teams that won 4 world championship titles.  Brad is a true legend of North Harbour and New Zealand Softball.   

North Harbour administrators were honoured during this and previous periods:

Bob Leveloff – WBSC Hall of Fame

Fay Freeman ONZM

Fay Freeman - Life Member Softball NZ

Bob Leveloff MNZM

Bob Leveloff - Life Member Softball NZ

Keith Gerrie – Softball NZ Distinguished Service Award

Raewyn Judson – Softball NZ Distinguished Service Award

Fay Freeman – Softball NZ Distinguished Award

Fay Freeman - Volunteer of the Year 2013

Ronnie Gurney - Volunteer of the Year 2011

Ronnie Gurney – Softball NZ Distinguished Award 2018

Trevor Smith – Softball NZ Distinguished Award 2019

Carolyn McQueen – Scorer of the Year 2018

The decade ended on a sad note with the loss of Life Member Ray Tibbits.  Ray gave a huge amount of valuable service to Softball at a national level (he was both a Softball NZ and North Harbour Softball Life Member) and his wisdom and knowledge will be sorely missed.  RIP Ray Tibbits. 

Ronnie was also NZ Statistician 2008 - 2012 and Junior Black Sox Statistician 2008, while Carolyn McQueen was JBS Statistician in 2016


The 2020's will start with preparation for the 2021 World Softball Cup.  We are expecting a 12 – 16 team competition with the best men’s softball teams in the world visiting Auckland and playing at the ELE Stadium in front of a home crowd of around 5,000 spectators. This is of course now changed to 2022 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.