Rāhui Pōkekā volunteers work to keep beloved Davies Park open

By Herewini Waikato

The iconic rugby league park, Davies Park in Huntly, is under threat but locals hope they can help in keeping it going.

Davies Park is owned by Waikato Rugby League but it is running out of funds and selling the park to the Waikato District Council could be an option. 

Today Rex Hohaia and Huntly Primary school have pitched in to help keep costs down to avoid the sale.  

Hohaia is the grandfather of past Kiwi player Lance Hohaia and is  is leading the charge with his volunteers and community business supporters today maintaining buildings, fields, and car parks to keep Davies Park operating.  

  “I think it is important that we continue the mahi done by all those that went before us,” Hohaia says. “And those people over the years have put their blood sweat, and tears into the place.”

One of the life time members and old boys of local rugby league club Taniwharau, Taka Raihe, says it is all about the game why the club is helping keep Davies Park open because it is part of their home grounds too.

Helping hands

Today some Huntly Primary School pupils turned up to help clean up the grounds.

Whaea Kelle Te Wara said, “So we got the call from Mautua Rex and our class is actually completing the William Pike challenge where part of the challenge is completing 20 hours of community service. As well with my love for the game the love for rugby league I thought this would be a good way to complete some of that challenge and bring both worlds together.”

One of Te Wara’s students who also plays for Taniwharau under 13s, Jhy Tau knows how important their mahi is, “I enjoy what I am doing because I am helping. I think it is important what we are doing so that Davies Park doesn't close down.”

Waikato Rugby League president Myles Watene says the body is struggling with funding and is thankful to Hohaia and his volunteers and local businesses’ support to keep Davies Park in order. He said while the league pays most running costs, the support of the community is warmly welcomed.

Heritage trust?

Another past Kiwi great, Tawera Nikau, is looking to turn Davies Park into a heritage trust in the style of Carlaw Park Heritage Trust and potentially look at commercial development to keep Davies Park in the hands of the local volunteers and clubs.