A view of the crowd who are eagerly watching the racing. The Main Stand can be seen on the right of the photograph.The Manawatu Racing Club opened their Awapuni course in December 1903. By 1927, over £90,000 had been spent on the establishment and improvement of the course and it was considered one of the most up-to-date and best equipped in the country.During World War One, it gave the New Zealand Military Authorities free use of the course - with the condition that the field was cleared for races periodically. It was also used as a refugee camp after the Hawkes Bay earthquake. In February 1936, a violent storm severely damaged the Main Grandstand and most of the buildings (see STM 12 and STM 13). It cost nearly £4000 to repair the damage.