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