Tawa’s big day the highlight
It’s been a big year for rugby in the Porirua basin, dominated by Tawa Rugby Football Club’s premier side. Tawa’s capturing of the Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup (and its senior 1 team were champions of their grade) was brilliant – rugged forward play, classy movement among the backs, excellent goalkicking, and, most importantly, team spirit.
Early in 2013, we spoke to two young people who are making a name for themselves in rugby and karate – Vinnie Ringrose and Mele Tuliakiono.
Tuliakiono, 12, beat a 14-year-old in her final at the karate nationals in late 2012 and is likely to be the youngest black belt in the country.
Ringrose is a rising young rugby referee. He and his father controlled a game together in 2010, the first father-and-son to do so in New Zealand.
In January, we talked to managers at Ole Football Academy about recent successes, with six students receiving American university scholarships.
It wouldn’t be the last time we spoke to Ole. Its million-dollar turf opened in April and several ‘‘ Academy kids’’ played for Wests’ top side, which finished third in the Central League.
Plimmerton Croquet Club and Tawa Swimming Club were also recognised for fine achievements in the region.
In early February we profiled Rianna O’Meara-Hunt, who is racing through the grades in kart racing.
Tawa Squash Club’s planned expansion – from three courts to five – and Peter Hanson, a remarkable 75-year-old resident of Aotea Summerset, who collects medals at every Masters Games he attends, also made the news.
Lawn bowlers Seamus Curtin, Bradley Down and Brady Amer were featured, representing the new generation of a sport that is taking hold in Porirua.
One of the country’s brightest tennis talents, 15-year-old Pratt Keerasuntonpong, from Tawa, told us he had plans to become a professional player, and by the way he has been dominating interclub tennis, that seems very possible.
Dying Porirua Vikings president Bernie Wood was photographed at the site of the Ascot Park artificial turf as the diggers rolled in. He had a smile a mile wide.
In April we chatted to Christina Zier, an American who played for the Northern United women’s rugby side. She said ‘‘everyone knows what’s going on’’ when it came to rugby skills and tactics in New Zealand.
We also profiled Norths netballer Whitney Souness, 17, who was to feature prominently on the local scene and make the national side for her age group.
Our netball coverage stepped up a gear in 2013, and we closely followed the local Kapi-Mana premier grade. Norths 1 took the title, overcoming Rockz 1 in the final.
The exploits of the Titahi Bay Athletics Club were recalled. More than 30 medals were won at the Colgate Games by a club consistently punching above its weight.
Touch footballer Mila ReueluBuchanan, brilliant young golfer Te Rongopai Clay and rugby player James So’oialo were profiled.
In June, Titahi Bay boxing coach Chris Kenny received a lifetime contribution award at the Wellington Sportsperson of the Year dinner.
The Hocking family got a deserved spread in our pages – the Paremata family has been involved in underwater hockey for years and siblings Jesse, Jake and Elle all made the New Zealand side this year.
Our August 6 issue featured Tawa and Norths on the front page after they scooped the Jubilee and Hardham cups respectively on a magical afternoon.
Tawa’s co-coach, Steve So’oialo, could barely contain his emotion, calling it a ‘‘special day’’ for him and his club.
The following week we caught up with Tall Blacks Jordan Ngatai and Brook Ruscoe, who talked about their recent trip to China with the national basketball side.
The annual Porirua Sports Awards were held in October, though we complained that many sports and individual stars were not represented. All Black squad member T J Perenara won the supreme award at the dinner.
In November the inter-school sports event, the Battle of the Bridge, made its debut.
One story that drew much attention was about Greg Moller, who is covering the Australian tennis open as a photographer.
We also caught up with Chiefs rugby hopeful Robbie Fruean; Bureta Faraimo, the former St George rugby league junior who represented the United States in the World Cup; and former Aotea College student Paul Ulberg, who is training with the Junior Warriors.
Jubilant: Tawa Rugby Football Club captain Taniela Koroi and coach Matthew Boyd hold
up the symbol of dominance in Wellington club rugby, the Jubilee Cup.