In 2020, the KKRFC is celebrating their 140th.anniversary – the club is one of the oldest rugby clubs in New Zealand. The club is a foundation member of both the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and the Thames Valley Rugby Union. It is also one of the oldest surviving organisations in Katikati as it has been operating since 1880.
Katikati Open Air Art has been working alongside the KKRFC committee and the Western Bay Museum to celebrate this milestone with a number of planned events and projects.
The pandemic has unfortunately meant one of the planned events – the Queens Birthday celebrations – have had to be cancelled, along with the full rugby season for 2020.
But organisers are still pushing on with three other events. The first, is a museum exhibition to be held at the Western Bay Museum, the second is a book telling the story and history of the Club over the past 140 years.
The third project is the production of a major mural, in fact the largest in Katikati Open Air Art history. The mural is made up of nine panels that feature nine identified individuals the club want to recognise and celebrate. The panels also include information and other details of the club’s history. The mural will be located on the huge concrete wall that is along Middlebrook Drive, visible to the entire community. The mural location faces onto the rugby grounds behind the main field’s goal posts and will be a very visual reminder to the community and opposition that visit and play at Moore Park.
The mural is being painted by an ex-Katikati artist, now based in Australia, Jason Manukau. Jason is an internationally recognised street artist who is also an ex-rugby player from the Katikati Club and grew up in Katikati (the son of Joe Manukau). Jason was in the early stages of working on the nine panels, but unfortunately work has had to stop due to the pandemic.
Mural research and development has involved a number of Katikati families, individuals and other organisations. The project has also been supported by both the Thames Valley and Bay of Plenty Rugby Union history organisations.
Being one of Katikati’s original and longest running clubs or organisations, the club has played a major part in the life of the Katikati community since it was founded in 1880, only five years after the first settlers arrived and a year after the second boat. The club has been a part of a huge number of Katikati’s families lives during the past 140 years, for some the involvement has included a number of generations. The club has survived two world wars, community diversification, change of regional unions, changes of playing fields, lack of player numbers, a depression, economic downturns, fires, changes of local industry and community support and the transport and travel dilemmas, yet it has survived and continued to grow and provide support.
The Rugby Club has also given many hours of entertainment and encouraged pride within the community – it truly is a Katikati institution.
(If you’d like to donate to this project, or sponsor one of the nine mural panels email firstname.lastname@example.org).