Bridge player’s love of the game

Alan Turner was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to bridge. Photo: Ryan Wood.

It’s business as usual in 2018 for New Year honouree Alan Turner, who still plays bridge twice a week at the Tauranga clubrooms.

The talented player was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in the 2018 New Year Honours list for ‘services to the game of bridge’.

“I had no inkling I’d been nominated,” says Alan, who only found out when he received a letter from Government House asking him if he would accept the honour.

South African-born Alan says he first played bridge at university, where students would play various card games.

“I used to watch them playing and thought I was smarter than them, which was a big mistake. Everything was played for money in those days, so when I first tried bridge it cost me a fair sum.”

Moving to New Zealand in 1973, he continued playing at the Tauranga Bridge Club, where he served three terms as president and became a life member in 1986.

He attained the highest bridge player rank of ‘Gold Grand Master’ in the 1990s, was a four-time winner in the New Zealand pairs, and also won the Australian champs “a couple of times”.

Now he plays mostly socially at the clubrooms on Ngatai Road, where games are run on afternoons and evenings during the week.

“It’s a friendly club,” he says. “We have around 400 members.”

New players are always welcome, with someone always willing to help teach and nurture new members in what Alan calls “the smart version of [card game] 500”.

For more information about bridge in Tauranga visit