Rugby Club to keep kick­ing on

Rotorua Review - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BENN BATHGATE

John Fen­wick’s links to the Waikite Rugby and Sports Club stretch back to the 1970s – when as a 10-year-old he’d help his dad, the then trea­surer, count the pre­vi­ous night’s bar tak­ings and raf­fle money.

Back in the 1970s the club had just bought the land in Koutu to give it a ‘‘home base’’, a rar­ity among rugby clubs.

Now, as the chair­man of Waikite, Fen­wick has big plans to re­store the club to its for­mer glory. Af­ter a big year ‘‘on the pad­dock’’ where Waikite teams have per­formed ex­cep­tion­ally well, he wants next year to be even big­ger.

Fen­wick said like a lot of sports clubs, hav­ing ac­cess to fund­ing and spon­sor­ship has been a key fac­tor in the club’s suc­cess this year.

With the strong links to Nga¯ti Whakaue, the club has val­ued the gen­er­ous sup­port re­ceived from Pukeroa Oru­awhata Char­i­ta­ble Trust which has al­lowed the club to field the num­ber of teams it has, across a num­ber of codes.

This sea­son, the club’s pre­mier team was just one-point shy of be­ing pro­moted to the Pre­mier 1 Divi­sion of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Bay­wide com­pe­ti­tion. While they missed out this time around, Fen­wick said the sil­ver lin­ing is that the young team has an­other year to de­velop into a highly com­pet­i­tive unit.

With com­pe­ti­tion win­ning per­for­mances from the women’s rugby team, as well as the JAB sides and the net­ball team, and an in­creas­ing membership, Fen­wick is turn­ing his at­ten­tion off the field to other as­pects of the club’s growth.

With plans to look at in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments and prop­erty de­vel­op­ment on the Waikite site, Fen­wick said he wants to repli­cate Pukeroa Oru­awhata’s suc­cess in prop­erty de­vel­op­ment and use their skills and pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise.

While de­tails around the de­vel­op­ments are still un­der wraps, Fen­wick said Waikite is one of only sev­eral sports clubs in the coun­try that own its own sports grounds – and they need to op­ti­mise the best use of avail­able land in line with its orig­i­nal land use pur­pose.

Fu­ture ini­tia­tives in­clude look­ing at wider recre­ational and health fa­cil­i­ties.

‘‘We’ll be seek­ing their ad­vice and di­rec­tion in terms of po­ten­tial projects. The club has to be more than just a build­ing, some goal posts and a cou­ple of rugby fields.’’

Con­tact with the al­gal blooms can cause asthma and hayfever at­tacks in some peo­ple.

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