A group of like-minded townspeople met to discuss the possible formation of a Chamber of Commerce. At that time they had a few commercial 'hot potatoes' including railway arrangements, technical education, the postal service and 'other matters that may not be within the province of the Cambridge Borough Council'. Reading between the lines there seemed to be a general dis-satisfaction with the Council's behaviour and so, after studying two quite different Chamber Constitutions (Auckland and Carterton), they adopted the latter and formally moved the foundation of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. One of the names of the founding Executive was Mr E Souter – a name that is still well preserved in the town's commercial life today.
Portfolio of Interests
By 1907 they had embraced their portfolio of interests to include telephones, the new Post Office and a higher quantum of government subsidy for the new (High) bridge. They won on several points (including the Post Office clock tower) but were firmly put back in their place when some Wellington based bureaucrat penned them a missive which advised that 'Cambridge train services were amply sufficient to meet the requirements'.
But in 1976 the paucity of attendances at meetings caused the Chamber to go into recess – 71 years after the foundation. Despite the very obvious commercial opportunities coming up from the World Rowing Championships only 2 years ahead.
No Chamber for 12 Years
And so Cambridge ran without a Chamber of Commerce for 12 years until a meeting addressed by the President of the New Zealand Chambers (Sir Alan Hellaby) strongly recommended that the Cambridge Chamber be re-awakened. Which it did - driven by Patron Patrick Hogan and new President Jack Shannon. Two men with a host of Cambridge commercial knowledge under their belts. Two months later a successful seminar kick-started the new process and the Chamber was well on the way again.