Maramarua and Papakura confirmed as Bunnings Rugby Assist Fund Recipients

Two Counties Manukau clubs have been awarded some much-needed financial support to improve their facilities under the Bunnings Rugby Assist competition.

Papakura has picked up $30,000 as part of the nationwide competition, while Maramarua has been handed $10,000 to do up their kitchen.

Papakura’s project will see the club be able to renovate the downstairs area at their Massey Park home, which will allow the junior club to be able to earn some matchday income.

“The downstairs area is our junior play lounge, and all the stuff down there is the original 1979 stuff when the club was started,” club president Rod Honan said.

“The kitchen and the toilet are in desperate need of renovation and this grant will allow us to do that. There is a rotten water cylinder down there that stinks the place out every time we shut it for any period of time.”

Honan and his team put the submission together like hundreds of other rugby clubs around the country and sat back to see if they would be one of the lucky ones.

“We uploaded it at the last moment and sent it off not really expecting anything from it,” he explained. But blow me down, we got a call to tell us we had been successful.”

The upgrades will have a significant impact on the junior club, as the downstairs lounge includes a shop that can be used on game day to generate income.

“It is a fund-raising stream for the juniors,” Honan said. “It is not easy in our area to bring in funds and the lockdowns have had an impact on pokie money funding.

“Any opportunity to get funds in is a winner.”

It caps off a successful year for the Papakura club – they made the semi-finals of the McNamara Cup plate section, their U21 side won the Massey Cup, while the club’s women’s team made the final of the Auckland Rugby Development grade.

“Our prize giving was absolutely chocker. People stayed well into the night and, for the first time in a long time, we had a DJ in the club,” Honan said.

The small rural rugby club of Maramarua will be able to do up their unusable kitchen thanks to their grant.

Boasting one senior team, in the Championship grade, and six junior teams, Maramarua is the stereotypical rural club, relying on hard-working volunteers to stay in existence.

“It is a huge benefit to our club,” club president Warren Adams said.

“Our facilities were pretty run down and so to be able to do them up and make them usable again is fantastic.”

Maramarua’s application was based around doing up their kitchen, which was so out-dated and run down that they couldn’t actually cook meals in it. Food had to be made offsite and brought to the club.

The club had begun fundraising to update the kitchen, but this win will obviously make that a lot more achievable.

“We will rip the old kitchen out, paint it, put in new lino, new cabinetry and, if funds allow, we will put in a new oven,” Adams said.

Work is likely to take place once the season ends and the upgrades will be completed by the start of the 2022 season.

Meanwhile Onewhero’s Rowena Massey has won the ultimate All Blacks experience thanks to her tireless work as a volunteer.

The All Blacks experience will take place after lockdown at Eden Park and NZR will provide six volunteers (plus six mates) the chance to have a meet and greet with three All Blacks, including a tour of Eden Park, a Sky Walk (weather pending), followed by lunch with the players at a nearby venue.