125th Anniversary Dinner – John Mowbray’s address
Kia ora koutou
Welcome to our celebration of 125 years of rugby in Horowhenua Kapiti. In particular, I welcome our special guests Steve Morris, Director, NZ Rugby Union, Dane Coles, All Black, Selica Winiata, Black Fern, our 2 mayors Michael Feyen and Gurunathan, our MP Nathan Guy and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop. Also, a special welcome to our life members KB Swain, Rex Kerr, Kathy Grey and Roger Downey and centurions Warren Robinson, Robbie Puklowski and Keith Milligan.
Whilst we acknowledge those players, coaches, referees and supporters who have preceded us, tonight I wish to focus on you, the current members of the union who enable us to celebrate our achievement tonight.
Firstly, I would like to mention the Board members of Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby Football Union who capably look after the financial and governance of our Union. Without recompense, they offer their services and to you all I say thank you for the Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby Football Union being in its strongest financial position ever.
Next, I would like to acknowledge our delegates to the Rugby Committee. Not only are they representing the interests of their clubs or affiliated bodies, but they spend much time arriving at decisions for the benefit of the union. Sometimes it is not easy, a decision has to be made without referral back to the clubs or bodies affected but its remarkable how they succeed. I think it is no surprise that the Rugby Committee operates so efficiently due to the diligence of all delegates, some who travel so far to meetings in Levin. It would be fair to say the Rugby Committee is as harmonious as it has ever been.
The referees are an important part of any game and it is too easy to take them for granted. Under the leadership of Stu Taylforth, they have continued to provide us with referees, sometimes not easily but we are grateful for their development of new associates and continuing education programmes. With recent arrivals into the Union, the future looks promising indeed, however there is never enough.
To the coaches of all the teams, be it Heartland down to under 7s, thank you for your dedication, commitment and unselfish availability. Without you, there can be no team. Thank you all for stepping up and I know the satisfaction is in achieving the skill development within your team and hopefully successes.
The club administrators are all volunteers willingly giving their time to run their clubs. Inevitably it’s the same handful of people, year after year who step up. To all of you out there, I say thank you on behalf of your clubs for what you achieve. Remarkably 4 of our volunteers have been finalists in recent years at the ASB/Steinlager Awards. Congratulations to KB Swain, Hilton Williams and Dean File on winning the prestigious award. You epitomise what Heartland rugby and its community is all about.
There can be no rugby without players, and be you club player or Heartland player, we acknowledge you for what you contribute to this wonderful game of ours. It’s your enjoyment and enthusiasm that drives us all to support you. Our All Black’s Dane Coles, Codie Taylor and Black Fern Selica Winiata are proof that from this union you can reach the pinnacles of rugby. One recent player in particular represents this contribution. Not only did he play in the 1993 Horowhenua Centennial Heartland team, but 25 years later took to the field for us this year against Ngati Porou East Coast. Congratulations Corey Kennett on such a remarkable playing career.
To the supporters of all the teams, thank you for your involvement, commentary and enthusiasm that gives such colour to our games. Whether your team wins or loses, supporting them is a vital part of the game we so love.
Finally, to the staff of Horowhenua Kapiti, so ably led by CEO Cory Kennett, the union has never been better resourced and your commitment to the administration and development of the game, be it junior, College boys and girls, Club, Heartland, has never been stronger. Sport organisations today are complex with a myriad of legislative hurdles and professional expectations. Congratulations to you all for what you so competently deliver to us.
Ladies and gentlemen, 125 years is a wonderful achievement and on behalf of the union and all those before us, I thank you for your contribution and involvement in Horowhenua Kapiti rugby. We look forward to yet even more achievement in the next 25 years. GO THE NUA!