While Waikanae and Foxton will battle it out for the Ramsbotham Cup at Levin Domain tom morrow, the first Horowhenua-Kāpiti club rugby final in 1893 was for a different trophy.

The inaugural winners were Kia Toa from Ōtaki, the only team to be presented with the handsome Horowhenua Football Challenge Cup.

That cup went missing under mysterious circumstances soon after, only to turn up at an Ōtaki house some 30 years ago.

The only known facts are that the late Ngaire Downing (nee Cootes), who was the grand-daughter of one of the Kia Toa players, was asked to visit an old house in Rangiuru Road just before it was due for demolition.


Mrs Downing was drawn to a secret hiding place under the stairs, where the cup was found among old team photographs and family treasures.

The Horowhenua Challenge Cup now takes pride of place in the Horowhenua-Kāpiti Rugby Union archives, as a treasure with a few secrets.

Foxton and Waikanae do battle for the Ramsbotham Cup tomorrow, a taonga donated by the late George Ramsbotham to the union in 1927.

Ramsbotham was an Englishman with a passion the Horowhenua community and for rugby. He also donated many books and art works to Horowhenua College.

Oddly enough, there was a spelling mistake on the cup, where Ramsbotham became "Ramsbottom", but it should be referred to as the Ramsbotham Cup