Leg­ging it for a league of their own

The Tribune (NZ) - - That’s Entertainment -

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.

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