Manukau Courier : December 7th 2010
24 MANUKAU COURIER, DECEMBER 7, 2010 SPORT Great effort pays off for burn centre Normally I would write about sport but this week s column has nothing to do with chasing balls about. Instead I want to thank every member of the com- munity who has helped the Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Community Trust raise more than $200,000 for the National Burn Centre at Middlemore Hospital. We had a fantastic night at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre on Friday and I could not speak more highly of the team there. Comedian Ewen Gilmour did the opening for us and he was incredibly funny. I thought he was also incred- ibly professional because his wife is ill but he still turns out for me, unpaid, and does his bit. Kerre Woodham was the MC and she was great too, introducing her fellow broadcaster Paul Holmes. There s no doubt he is one of the finest interviewers we have ever produced but the star of the show was Prime Minister John Key. What a tough week he must have had, dealing with the Pike River tragedy, but he turned up and was abso- lutely fantastic. Much to my surprise he was also funny, making himself the butt of most of the jokes, and totally engaging. Not only did he act as the guest speaker for us, he took his tie off and auctioned it. Holmes outbid me for it, pay- ing $7000. Then the PM asked what else he could do and offered to host a morning tea for 10 people, which raised $20,000, and still not satisfied, he let another per- son have the same offer for $15,000. Even I can add that up.So he turned up and gave us his time -- and in what other country would that ever happen? Then he personally helped raise $42,000 on his own. We were also incredibly fortunate that after Lady Janice and I started the ball rolling with a $10,000 donation, the Hugh Green Trust matched it. Then, com- pletely out of the blue, so too did the Sir William and Lady Lois Manchester Trust. Black Salt helped us all rock the night away and I tell you what, I would book the boys in that band in a heart- beat. Great fun and totally professional. It will be a little while until we know exactly how much was raised but I was very proud of the gener- osity shown and by the sup- port so many of you showed in making a text donation to Operation Heal. The money raised is going to make a huge difference to those having to undergo sur- gery for burns and let me tell you that is about as painful an injury as it is possible to suffer. There is one other thank you I have to make and that is to the Maori Sports Awards. They were having their big do at TelstraClear on Saturday night so we were able to use a lot of the facili- ties that had been set up to televise their event. That means we didn t have to pay -- and that means more money for the charity. This year I was delighted that All Black winger Hosea Gear was named Maori sportsperson of the year. He was great for the Hurricanes and won a Commonwealth Games gold medal for Sevens in Delhi. The winners are: Albie Pryor Maori sportsperson of the year and senior sports- man Hosea Gear; Senior sportswoman, Joelle King -- squash; Junior sportsman, Reuben Te Rangi -- basket- ball; Sportswoman, Dayna Maree Turnbull -- basketball and touch; Disabled sport- sperson, Cameron Leslie -- swimming; Coach: Stephen Kearney -- league; Adminis- trator, Patricia Rangi -- hockey; Umpire/referee, Henry Perenara -- league; Team: Maori All Blacks -- rugby; Media award: Beneath the Maori Moon -- Bailey Mackey. Marlins celebrate new home New beginnings: Members of the Manurewa Marlins executive Alan Johnson and Agnes Koti in front of their new $4.8m home at Mountfort Park in Manurewa. Photos: SHANE WENZLICK Left behind: The Manurewa Marlins' old home at Leabank Park. By ALAN APTED A homeless Manurewa Mar- lins Rugby League Club celebrates its 50th birthday at the Weymouth Cosmopoli- tan Club on New Year s Eve. But with the new year will come a brand new look for the club. Organisers are encourag- ing as many former players and members as possible to come along for the anniver- sary celebrations because they also mark the beginning of a new chapter in the club s history. In February the two-time winner of the Fox Memorial Trophy and its 1100 members will move into a brand new home -- a $4.8 million multi- purpose two-storey building at Mountfort Park. It will have a grandstand that will hold 600 people and bar, kitchen and lounge facili- ties that can cater for 300 people. There s also a first aid room and conference and tournament rooms. It s a facility the club will share with the Clendon Foot- ball Club, the Weymouth Cricket Club and the JC Spartans, the local American football club. They will all be tenants of the Manurewa Community Facilities Charitable Trust, the body set up to operate the facility on behalf of the clubs. Club chairman Greg Whaiapu says the 50th anni- versary will mark an exciting new chapter in the history of the club and he wants as many former members and supporters as possible along to celebrate. The club s trying to get its NRL players along to mark the occasion. Names on the list include Joe Galuvao (Pen- rith/Parramatta/Manly), Greg Eastwood (Brisbane/ Canterbury/Leeds), Henry Fa afili (Warriors/Warring- ton) and Aaron Heremaia and Lance Hohaia (Warriors). Call Trudie Field on 267-2648 or email btbc@ paradise.net.nz. Good old days were tough By ALAN APTED The Manurewa Marlins Rugby League Club almost didn't get off the ground. Only the determination and perserverance of league mates Neville Scott, Ken Russell, Harry Gibbs, Jack Shelley and others got it up and running. ''You must remember that in those days, Manurewa was considered a rugby town,'' explains Jean Shelley, the 73-year-old wife of Jack Shelley and life member of the Marlins. ''We met with all kinds of resistance. Even the then Manurewa Town Council made it difficult for us. ''Raffles were one of the ways we used to raise money. But instead of putting us in the town centre where the people were, they put us up on Hill Rd, well away from where the people were. ''They made it difficult for us but the men were persistent. I remember we got into trouble with the police once for not having a licence to sell raffle tickets.'' Pig in the barrell was another means of raising money for the club. ''I remember one of the those pigs slept in my sitting room,'' Shelley says. A lot of the club's early meetings were held in the changing rooms at War Memorial Park in Manurewa. The move to Leabank Park came later. The first clubhouse was an old Gospel Church hall from Otahuhu. With council permission, the club members had it moved from Otahuhu and put it up on Leabank Park. ''I remember it well,'' Shelley says. ''The men would be busy working on the building and the women would bring the sandwiches and tea. The work was all voluntary in those days.'' She also recalls how the club came to be called the Marlins. It's a name of no special significance, she says. Committee members met one day and just came up with it. The Marlins started out as a social team playing alongside teams from Papakura, Mangere East, Papatoetoe, Howick and Otara. ''They played in what was called the First Juniors,'' Shelley says. ''Most of the men were married and we had a large children's section. The bus would come along in the mornings, pick up all the children, drop them off at the grounds then come back later in the afternoon and pick them up.'' It's a tradition that continues today. The club's junior section is the biggest in the country. Shelley is a life member of the Marlins. She's heard about the new facility at Mountfort Park and can't wait to see it for herself.
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