Wood rolls up sleeves and gets stuck in

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Mike Wood is an old-school chair­man who will re­place toi­let rolls and col­lect er­rant foot­balls from the trees.

He has been at the helm of Tawa Foot­ball Club for 15 years and man­ages the first team, which his son, Daniel, coaches.

The fa­ther-son link is sym­bolic of a club steeped in com­mu­nity and fam­ily ties.

‘‘We do have those fam­ily con­nec­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s some­thing we’re proud of and we’ve worked hard to re­tain them.

‘‘Of 18 play­ers in the first team squad, all but one are from Tawa. Some­thing like 12 of them have come through Tawa Col­lege.’’

At last month’s Tawa Com­mu­nity Civic Awards, Wood won the sport and re­cre­ation cat­e­gory for his ser­vice to the foot­ball club.

He said he gave about 20 hours a week to his chair­man­ship du­ties, which in­volve ev­ery­thing from sort­ing out gear and writ­ing grant ap­pli­ca­tions to more mun­dane du­ties.

‘‘On game day [Satur­day], I’ll of­ten go early to the clu­b­rooms at Red­wood and make sure the toi­lets are tidy and there are enough toi­let rolls. Some­one has to do it and that some­one is me.’’

Wood came to New Zealand from Bri­tain as a 12-year-old.

‘‘I re­mem­ber ar­riv­ing on the boat and as we came into the har­bour it was just get­ting light. I saw all the hills and thought, ‘ There’s no room for [ foot­ball] grounds here’. I still think that to­day con­sid­er­ing how much mud and rain we have.’’

Stop Out and Seatoun were early clubs for him be­fore a move to Tawa 30 years ago be­gan his re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal club.

He blamed his wife for the hours he has put in, say­ing it was she who vol­un­teered him many moons ago.

Wood said the com­mit­ment wouldn’t wane any time soon and that he en­joyed be­ing a hands-on chair­man.

He is es­pe­cially ex­cited about the bur­geon­ing youth num­bers at the club – largely through ef­forts with lo­cal schools and by the ju­nior com­mit­tee – and that Red­wood Park will be re-laid in Au­gust af­ter years of drainage prob­lems.

‘‘We’ve never been wealthy, but it’s a club that has heart. My job in fu­ture might be to get a few other people do­ing things, but right now I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Ded­i­cated: Tawa Foot­ball Club chair­man Mike Wood, who has been in the role for 15 years.

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