Rangiuru Sports to cel­e­brate

Te Puke Times - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY DI­A­MOND

Pho­tos of past and present sports teams are spread over the stage and ta­bles at Rangiuru Sports Club. The first dates back to 1891 and is printed sharp in black and white, oth­ers are from the early 1900s right through to the 2000s.

Colour starts to emerge as the dates be­come more re­cent — red, white and blue in par­tic­u­lar.

The clu­b­rooms are quiet. Pieces of old stream­ers and red bal­loons are still stuck to the ceil­ing beams from past cel­e­bra­tions.

But come this week­end hun­dreds of peo­ple will pack into the clu­b­rooms, old play­ers will strap on their rugby boots and the net­ball courts will be a hive of ac­tion and com­pe­ti­tion as Rangiuru Sports Club cel­e­brates 125 years since it was formed.

The his­tory of the club is as strong as the rep­u­ta­tion of its cur­rent mem­bers.

The club’s roots can be traced back to the 1890s when the first Rangiuru team was formed by broth­ers Moho and Ari­taku Wi­hapi.

Rugby is Rangiuru’s old­est code of sport, dat­ing right back to the in­cep­tion of the club, but it is not the only one.

Around the early 1940s, the first game of net­ball was played by Rangiuru women and is still a strong in­ter­est for mem­bers.

The clu­b­rooms were built in 1981 and opened up space for more sport­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clud­ing darts, table ten­nis and snooker.

Ten­nis, touch, rugby league and even cricket have also been played at the club.

The club ini­tially started out small but grew to in­clude some well-known rugby play­ers in­clud­ing Bill Gray, Ge­orge Skud­der, Mark Basham, Da­mon Kaui, Kramer Ron­aki and Tan­erau La­timer.

Rutu Wat­son trav­elled home from Aus­tralia to help her wha¯nau pre­pare for this week­end’s fes­tiv­i­ties.

She says the club is spe­cial to many peo­ple and this week­end is about cel­e­brat­ing the mem­o­ries from over the years, in­clud­ing club mem­bers who are no longer here.

The Labour Week­end pro­gramme will open on Fri­day with a powhiri from 12pm, fol­lowed by a mix and min­gle at the clu­b­room, 8 ball, darts and en­ter­tain­ment.

On Satur­day all ages of Rangiuru rugby and net­ball teams take on in­vi­ta­tional visi­tors, from ju­nior teams to the se­nior pre­mier squad.

There will be an “amaz­ing race” for ran­gatahi on Sun­day morn­ing fol­lowed by a black tie ball to wrap up the cel­e­bra­tions.

“We’re so ex­cited for the nos­tal­gia,” Rutu says.

She says the club has “weath­ered many storms” in­clud­ing nearly fac­ing clo­sure on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions, but be­cause of the sup­port of mem­bers, the club is as strong as ever.

“Against all odds, Rangiuru has sur­vived,” she says. “Rangiuru for­ever.”

Against all odds, Rangiuru has sur­vived. Rangiuru for­ever. RUTU WAT­SON

PHOTO / AMY DI­A­MOND

The Rangiuru Sports Club is in cel­e­bra­tion mode this week­end with an ex­ten­sive line-up of events planned.

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