Legging it for a league of their own
When we speak of rugby in New Zealand, it’s easy to default our thinking to images of Jonah Lomu, Keith Quinn, or Richie McCaw lifting a golden trophy.
But when you see Mt Smart Stadium packed to the rafters with Warriors fans, you’re reminded that rugby league is also a significant part of our culture.
An exhibition at Te Manawa Art Gallery celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Kia Ora rugby league club. From its origins in the 1950s to its role today as both sports club and community hub, it explores Kia Ora’s rich heritage.
Kia Ora grew from the Maori families of Palmerston North and the men who worked the Longburn freezing works floor. Those early teams played when rugby league first arrived in Manawatu, but it wasn’t until 1975 that the Kia Ora club was inaugurated.
The Te Manawa exhibition covers more than just sport, and shows how Kia Ora was – and remains – an import- ant social linchpin, a focus for events, sport and for youth development.
Kia Ora prepared its mainly young Maori members to succeed both on and off the pitch,
Visitors can reinforce and enhance the club’s history. Along with photographs and jerseys, there’s a visitor’s book where memories of Kia Ora can be recorded.
Kia Ora Rugby League is open in the Te Manawa Art Gallery. Free entry.