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Our Story


Enthusiasm, commitment, boundless generosity and hard work have provided Maungaturoto with a sporting and social complex that is the envy of much larger communities.

The project’s timeframe gives some idea of its magnitude. In 1965, a comment from one of the managers of the visiting Springboks inspired the idea, the land was finally purchased in 1977 and the club – then Northland’s largest sports complex - opened its doors in 1984. It was a colossal achievement for a small rural community where members joined forces and pulled together over many years.
Halley Roadley, a Northland Rugby Union administrator during the 1965 Springbok tour, heard about the Clubs the Springboks had visited when they toured South America. The clubs catered for a number of sporting codes and provided dining and socialising facilities.
Halley says people liked the idea of a club where families could play their chosen sports in one place and socialise as well.
The concept gained ground when the Mid Northern Dairy Company (now Fonterra) bought the local domain to expand its factory and left the town with no rugby fields.

The team that got the venture off the ground was comprised by a bunch of Local farmers - Halley Roadley, Vern Powell, Lester Trewin, Warren Ford, Norman Dalebrook, Albie Paton, Gilbert Worthington and Bryce Cullen, plumber and former Domain Board member, Mattie McNay, former accountant Tom McMurchy and the local bank manager, Ron Simmonds.
“When the idea of the club was put to the Domain Board there wasn’t a single dissenting vote,” Halley says.

A new piece of land was sought and its purchase required the persistence, persuasion, resourcefulness and generosity that have been the hallmarks of the Maungaturoto Recreational Society since its inception.
The land that was considered ideal was 74.5ha owned by Ivor Cullen who had not lived in Maungaturoto for 30 years.
An approach earned a promise that, should he sell, the society would be given first option to buy.
One of the club’s founders, Vern Powell, was given the task of keeping in contact with Mr Cullen who eventually agreed to sell because the land was to be used by the community. He also left in $40,000 as a first mortgage.
“He didn’t need to sell,” says Vern. “It had been a family farm since the 1860s.”
Getting $30,000 was relatively easy – $17,500 came from the public domain sale and $12,500 from two Otamatea County Council grant funds.
The balance was funded by a $70,000 overdraft organised by the local BNZ manager, Ron Simmonds, who asked for no guarantors and said he’d “worry about the bosses”.
Paying it back, however, required inventive fundraising. A debenture scheme was well supported by locals who invested thousands of dollars.
Individuals and organisations also made generous donations.
But purchasing the land – while a substantial achievement – was child’s play compared with funding and building a two-storey clubhouse and establishing an 18-hole golf course (no longer operating), rugby fields, squash courts, the Otamatea Repertory Society and other sports facilities.
“It was a tremendous project,” says Vern. “There was no guarantee of its success. I guess it was just faith in the community.”


Many people, including many who never played sport, contributed many thousands of voluntary hours.

Leicester Trewin made 100 free trips carting metal – also donated -for the road around the clubhouse.
Supporters raised $38,000 selling $25 raffle tickets to punters who had the chance of winning a car and other prizes.
Maungaturoto athlete Stella Cawkwell ran from Bluff to North Cape to raise money for disabled people and donated money for an access ramp.
Chris Evens donated a hundred pines and more came from Ted Mooney and Guy Lynch. They were milled by volunteers and raised $50,000.
The Maungaturoto Lions Club raised about $10,000 hay making and cutting and planting trees.
The Club itself bought and grazed lambs on the property.
Farmers donated sheep and cattle which have provided ongoing income.
Local farmer, Peter Bull, provided a rent-free house for the builder.
Committee members arranged volunteer labour – sometimes a couple of people each per day – to work on the building project.

All up, it’s conservatively estimated that more than a million dollars (equal to $3 million today) was raised through donations of livestock, cash, grants, raffles, the Lottery Board ($50,000), plus donations of labour, machine use, materials and discounts on goods and services.
It must have been a thrill when the Maungaturoto Rugby Club began using the new facilities. After their rugby rounds were sold to the dairy company, they played in a paddock on Albie Paton’s farm and used a converted piggery as clubrooms.
The golf club, which is no longer operating, encountered a snag when the Council planned to put sewerage ponds on the property. There was talk of a 16-hole golf course until a new course designer solved the problem. 
The squash club got off to a comfortable start when the Recreational Society agreed to build the shell of the building for their courts.
Today the Maungaturoto Country Club has a number of affiliated clubs: Bowls, Equestrian, Motor Cross, Otamatea High School, Otamatea Repertory, Rotary, Rugby (junior, intermediate and senior), Squash,  and The Den.  
Like many major projects – this one will never be finished. When guests celebrated the Country Club’s 25th anniversary in 2002, extensive renovations and improvements were underway thanks to grant funds.

The Club - A member of Clubs New Zealand - is managed by volunteers and has a farm manager, groundsman and cleaner - all part-time.  Like any community asset, it continues to rely on the community asset, it continures to rely on the commitment of locals who dontate both time, money, services and goods in a myriad of ways - from shearing sheep and cutting firewood to helpin gbehine the bar - to ensure the club continues to fulfill the dreams of its founders and meet the needs of it's growing community


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