College takes top spots
1st XV wins team of year, while Huiarangi named coach of the year at community awards
The people voted and Katikati College 1st XV rugby team won sports team of the year, and coach, Leander Huiarangi, won sports coach of the year at the 2020 Katikati and Waihi Beach Community Awards.
The finalists and winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the Waihi Beach Surf Lifesaving Club last Thursday night.
More FM’s Jolene James was MC for the awards, hosted by Waihi Beach Events and Promotions and Katch Katikati.
The award tops off an exceptional year for the 1st XV whichwas promoted to Division 1 after winning the 2nd Division last year. The team won every game including the final against Trident High School to become 2020 champions and the top co-ed team in the Bay of Plenty. They also won the Thames Valley Invitational 10s tournament.
This is the ultimate achievement and follows an incredible three-year journey under the coaching leadership of Huiarangi.
Jolene said Katikati College was so proud of their boys— who they are and the futures they have ahead — and this was mostly because of the mahi Huiarangi and his coaching and management team have put in over the last three years.
“The impact this has had on the overall culture of the college cannot be underestimated.
“Leander has been agame changer for the boys, both on and off the field.”
Of the award wins Huiarangi said, “I don’t have the words.”
“To say I am proud is an understatement.”
Hesaid on the way to the finals the bus brokedown and they almost didn’t make it.
Huiarangi said they wanted to build on last year and “keep the pure essence of the game and have fun”.
“You can’t do that without getting back to your roots— simplicity, strategy, technique and looking after each other.”
Of team captain Lesen Huiarangi he said, “even though he is my son, Lesen has been an extraordinary leader.”
Lesen was named player of the year at the school’s sports awards.
College Year 7 and 8 teacher, Stuart Pratt was assistant coach and will likely takeover coaching next year since Huirangi wants to focus on his black belt in Judo.
Katikati Rugby Club hopes to have a Colts or U21 team next season. Huirangi supports this, and said players like Filipe Vakasuiola could play in the U21s.
“Weneed to get the boys involved in trades to keep them here.
“If we were able to build up like that, and get a clear pathway from the school to the club to keep players here.”
Hesaid Katikati College’s teacher in charge of sport, Angus Donaldson wasalso keen to keep the boys in the community.
FireUpSports opened its doors in Katikati 14 months ago and was voted Retail Business of the Year by the public.
“Weare blown away. Thiswas totally unexpected,” business owners, Mike Innes and Delwyn Seath said after receiving the award.
The couple supply gear for all sports but are passionate about fishing.
“The locals often bring in fish for us or offer to take us fishing.”
Mike and Delwyn have an amazing connection with their customers and go above and beyond to help people out— especially during lockdown.
They have a good database of customers and all wished them the best for the awards.
Mike said the customers are amazing, “it’s why I moved here”.
Western Bay Museum scooped tourism business of the year. Manager Paula Gaelic said winning the tourism award was an endorsement from the community. “We’ve worked hard with rebranding and our marketing campaign with NZ Media and Entertainment (NZME) and providing free entry for Western Bay ratepayers. September wasa record month.”
The museum is a tourist attraction drawing celebrities like Jo Seagar, and increased groups are doing the step back in time experience, Paula said.
“Our campaigning and hard work is finally paying off.”
The museum was a finalist in the Best Volunteer Organisation won by Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade. Paula said she wasthrilled for the brigade.
“Wehave the most dedicated volunteers, but in adifferent way. They [firefighters] save lives in this town.”
With a townthat’s split on both sides of State Highway 2, Katikati is the larger of the brigades that is called to assist all of the Western Bay call outs. The volunteers are humble and offer theirowntime to help those in need at all hours of the day and night. ■ Seemoreonpage 8.
The 2020 Katikati and Waihi Beach Community Awards brought a sense of achievement and pride to all finalists and winners at the awards ceremony at Waihi Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.
Awards co-organiser Nicky Austin said the awards are more relevant in this day and age, than ever before.
“With 100 per cent of the awards being determined by public vote this year, the amount of engagement shown by the community was amazing.
“We loved the excitement with which nominees rallied their supporters to vote, the exposure created for the nominees and the thrill and gratitude shown by the category winners was equally moving for us as organisers,” Nicky said.
She said she thoroughly enjoyed the prizegiving event, particularly seeing the communities of Katikati and Waihi Beach come together and appreciate being in each other’s company.
“Our grateful thanks goes to Jolene James from The Breeze Radio Station, the Waihi Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and their fabulous staff and of course our incredible sponsors (listed on page 31).”