Cambridge FC’s longest-serving volunteer has been Peter Martens who joined the club as a junior player in 1957 and who has held almost every role possible.
Coach, referee, administrator and president for more than 30 years, Martens has led the club through decades of growth and development.
Born in 1949, the year after the current club was founded, he wanted to play football as a young boy whose family had emigrated from Holland where football was the national sport.
“The club was less than 10 years old then, and had only a few teams,” he said.
When injury ended his own playing days, he began coaching children’s teams in 1973 and soon after was elected to the club’s executive commitee.
He says his volunteer work was driven by the vision of building a football club for future generations to enjoy.
His passion for football, and the support of his family, kept him going “when the rain was coming down and there was still more work to be done” at the club’s grounds.
After a spell of OE in the late 1970s, he returned to New Zealand in 1981 and rejoined the club’s committee a year later. He became club secretary (1985-87) and was first elected club president in 1987 – a role he has held since.
As well as leading Cambridge FC, Martens made a significant contribution to regional administration of the sport, serving 13 years with the Waikato Football Association, six years with the Northern Provincial Council and helping with the establishment of what is now the Waikato/Bay of Plenty (WaiBOP) Football Federation.
His endeavours in football have earned him a number of awards:
- 2014 – he became only the 13th person to be made a Life Member of Cambridge FC.
- 2020 – he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for his services to football, in the New Year’s Honours list.
- 2020 – he was made a Life Member of WaiBOP Football.
In July 2020, the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy, presented Martens with his QSM at Government House, Wellington.
Photographs from the Investiture Ceremony, held at Government House. Please click on image to enlarge to full size.