For over a hundred years the Te Aupouri Rugby Football Club has competed in the Mangonui sub-union of Northland Rugby. But with strong support from its youth this weekend the club began a new chapter in its sporting history.
It's the annual muster of players for this season but a historical conversion for the Te Aupouri Rugby Club.
Hone Harawira, Taitokerau Rugby League says, “For over a hundred years rugby union has been the game here. This year we heard they didn't have the numbers to make up a team. But you can see for yourself this is the first rugby league muster and the whole community has turned out so we thank them.”
The good muster is a relief for the new coach with over twenty young men turning out and a similar number of young ladies registering to play rugby league for Te Aupouri this year.
Lance Taylor, Kaiako says, “Woke up this morning and wasn't too sure what sort of drills and what sort of things to do, and I didn't know how many members I was going to get. But hey this is an awesome start awesome start!”
Richard Wiki, Chairman, Te Aupouri Rugby Football Club says, “When we were playing, the other clubs were all scared to come and play Te Aupouri and Ngāti Kuri. But I think we'll be very competitive this season.”
The club walls are adorned with the teams of yesteryear and it's a club that supports netball and celebrates those who have reached the top echelons of their chosen sport.
The conversion to league this year means the Taitokerau Rugby League Competition will now expand to eleven men’s teams.
Lindsay Proctor, Former Kiwi & Taitokerau Rugby League Judiciary says, “They got great facilities here. I think the boys just wanted to maybe change and sort of feel out the game. And so we'll promote it and help and we're looking forward to going forward.”