Hawke's Bay's Wakely Shield rugby tournament will be played this year and for the first time without the person the event is named after.

The matriarch of Taradale rugby, Adele Wakely, died last week after a battle with cancer. She was 88.

Her son and fellow Hawke's Bay junior rugby stalwart, Baz Wakely, confirmed the 17th edition of the tournament for under-50kg players will be played during the October school holidays but it will be the last one in its current format.

"With changes to the rules for 11th graders next year there will be changes then," Wakely said.


He agreed it won't be the same without Adele at the tournament and she will receive an appropriate send-off when circumstances allow with a memorial service at the Taradale Rugby Club.

"Mum has always been a big fan of Paul [former Maori All Blacks and fellow life member of the club Blake] and he will be the MC at the service. Mum's urn will be there," Wakely said.

A former Hawke's Bay Junior Intercity Rugby Board treasurer and draws steward, Adele, was involved with a variety of rugby roles for 65 years. She first got involved with the Taradale club when she began washing senior team jerseys in 1955. She also assisted with the club's catering and social committees.

A former Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union delegate for Napier JAB and the intercity board, Adele started coaching in 1959 and completed a referee's test every year since then until she stepped down from her intercity commitments in 2016.

Adele won the Volunteer of the Year award at the2004 New Zealand Rugby Union's annual awards function in Wellington.

"It was a fantastic evening and the highlight of my time in rugby. The late Jock Hobbs presented me with my trophy and Jerome Kaino carried my heavy trophy down the stairs for me because I had a big bag full of goodies. Jerome won the age-grade player of the year award and Dan Carter won the Kel Tremain Memorial Trophy for the Player of the Year," Adele recalled in 2016.

Other highlights included the hosting the late Jonah Lomu at a Taradale junior club day, hosting four All Blacks - Bull Allen, Justin Marshall, Eric Rush and Blair Larsen - at a dinner, hosting a dinner for of 500 All Blacks Supports Club members and being part of a team of volunteers who planned and organised the Taradale club's move from Taradale Park to the Tareha Recreational Reserve.

"It has been a great club ... the club," Adele recalled when her 30-year stint as junior convenor ended in 2016.


It wasn't a surprise when she rattled off her list of favourite players. All are former Taradale players - former All Black Bill Davis, Blake, former All Black Sevens players Colin Bourke, Dallas Seymour and Aaron Hamilton and former Chiefs utility Andrew Horrell.

"Dallas and Aaron share the same birthday as me - August 19," Wakely often recalled proudly.

A former Super Grans marching co-ordinator in Taradale, Adele, was also a life member of the intercity board.

"It's extremely sad news even more so given what we are all currently going through," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Jay Campbell said when told of Wakely's death.

"Adele has left an amazing legacy to junior rugby in this province that many young player has benefitted from and will continue to do so into the future. It is because of people such as Adele that make the game of rugby so unique and her efforts and love for the game will be hugely missed not only at her beloved Taradale club but all HB junior rugby."

"Condolences to the Wakely whanau and all those involved with the Taradale Rugby Club at this sad time," Campbell added.

Adele is survived by seven of her 11 siblings, seven of her nine children, 19 of her 20 grandchildren and numerous great and great great-grandchildren.