Heather first played tennis at 10 years of age at the West End Club, Auckland, where her parents were foundation members and did not start badminton until she was 20 when she joined the Eden Club and became ‘hooked’ on the game. Early encouragement came from Aub and Marj Webster. Aub was later President and was the driving force behind the original four court Gillies Ave. hall.
In 1954 Heather reached the semi-finals of the All England Ladies singles and also won the Irish Open singles. She played tennis at Wimbledon in 1954, 1957 and progressed through a few rounds of doubles and mixed.
In 1960 she was a member of the most successful Uber Cup team NZ has produced when they reached the final rounds in the USA.
Overall she has represented New Zealand 20 times in Whyte Trophy and Uber cup and also as a NZ tennis rep.
She won seven New Zealand singles (a record), nine doubles (several with Val Gow) and three mixed with Jeff. She also amassed no less than 14 Auckland singles titles. She has since managed teams in both tennis and badminton including Uber Cup teams, and served as an Auckland badminton selector.
On the tennis scene she has won the Auckland singles, doubles and mixed titles and also New Zealand doubles and mixed titles. The mixed has been with husband Jeff and some of the tennis has been with badminton partner Val Gow. She has also served a term as Auckland President.
When Auckland’s Gillies Ave hall first opened she inaugurated the Auckland Ladies Mid-Week club which grew into today’s mid-week interclub and championships. Heather and Val Gow organised and ran this competition for many years.
Of more recent times she served on the Auckland management committee for 10 years and was President for 3 years. She started on the NZBF management committee in 1985, she also served 2 years as New Zealand President. She and Jeff have represented New Zealand at International Badminton Federation AGM’s for some years. Heather is still a member of the High Performance committee. Inaugural Oceania Badminton Confederation President 1987 to 2000.
Heather was Hostess for original Benson & Hedges tournaments in late 70s and early 80s. She was involved in fund raising etc. when Stanley Street was rebuilt originally – her father was Convenor of the committee so was roped in!! The Redwood stand was named after him.
Founding Trustee of Sport Auckland – retired 2002
Received MNZM in 2000 for Service to racket sports
2005 – Jeff and Heather Robson were awarded the following:-
– Badminton NZ Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to Badminton in NZ
– The Halberg Trust NZ Herald ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award for contribution to Badminton and Tennis in New Zealand.
7 NZ Ladies Singles – a record
9 NZ Ladies Doubles
3 NZ Mixed Doubles
Reached semi finals All England Ladies singles 1954 and won several English County tournaments
Won Irish Ladies Singles 1954
Played Uber Cup in 3 competitions. Was in 1960 team that reached the semi finals of world finals
14 Auckland Ladies Singles
13 Auckland Ladies Doubles
10 Auckland Mixed Doubles
Played Whyte Trophy many times
Represented New Zealand 20 times
Played Wisden Cup for Auckland over period from 1949-68 when Auckland was completely dominant
Coach Auckland Juniors for some years on a Friday night.
NZ President 2 years
NZ Management Committee starting 1985 – final year 1998
NZ Management Committee Chairman 2 years
Convened High Performance (International) committee for some years – still a member.
Inaugural Oceania Badminton Confederation President 1987 to 2000
Delegate to International Badminton Confederation since 1989
Technical Director at Commonwealth Games in Auckland 1990
Technical Director at Thomas/Uber Cup Asian zone in Auckland 1996
Life Member NZBF
Life Member OBC
Life Member Auckland BA
IBF Meritorious Service Award 1988
NZBF Service Award
Auckland President 3 years
Auckland Management Committee for several years
Auckland Selector for 7 years
Auckland Patron since 1997
Involved in building of Auckland hall over several years and stages
Started Auckland Ladies Midweek Badminton Interclub competition and was convenor for over 20 years.
In 1964 initiated and organised Charity day once a year for Halberg Trust, which raised thousands of dollars over many years – it is still running For many years it was the only women’s sport which ran these fund-raising days for the Halberg Trust.
Won 5 NZ Junior titles – 1 Singles, 2 girls’ doubles and 2 mixed doubles
3 NZ Ladies Doubles
2 NZ Mixed doubles
In New Zealand team which played in Australia in early 1950s
Played at Wimbledon in 1954 and 1957. Reached last 16 with Jeff in Mixed in 1957
Won several Auckland Junior titles
1 Auckland Ladies Singles
3 Auckland Ladies Doubles
4 Auckland Mixed Doubles
Played in Auckland Nunnerley Casket (Ladies Team) and also captained and managed Auckland Nunnerley Casket teams in the 50s and 60s when Auckland was dominant
Auckland President 1990-91
Conducted NZ Girls Development Squad in early 50s