"League has died on the coast."

It might have torn their hearts to say it, but those are the words of Kāpiti Bears Rugby League Club chairman John Smith and proud committee member Steve Coles.

The club, which was formed in 1972, had its glory days back in the 1970s and 80s but is still going despite a lack of members in recent years.

"The club has gone up and down over the years through nobody's fault," John said.


"We are trying to get the word out that there is still league on the coast but we need support from the community.

"The club used to be a very passionate part of the community and I have no doubt we can get that back."

Reminiscing about the glory days at a reunion last year, John and Steve are back in Kāpiti and are on the committee trying to pull the club back up to its former glory.

With a strong committee behind them, the club is fundraising to get more resources, run junior programmes, and to renovate their club rooms to make it more inviting for members to join.

Their first goal is to get more junior players and work their way up from there.

Currently with one masters and two junior teams, the club wants to provide life skills to young players as part of their junior programme but needs support, members and players to make this possible.

"We want to teach them about healthy eating, and include all those kinds of life skills but we need to get the community involved to make it possible," Steve said.

Next on the wish list is having enough players to start up a senior team again.


Boasting a proud history, the Kāpiti Bears was the home for many years of former New Zealand captain and national coach Stephen Kearney.

Kearney plied his trade for the Kāpiti Bears as a junior before moving to Randwick Rugby League Club in Wellington in 1991.

The club hosted a masters tournament at their home pitch, Matthews Park in Raumati last weekend and is planning on having an exhibition game with Lower Hutt club Randwick, hosting one of their home games in Raumati to gain publicity for rugby league in Kāpiti.

"As the proverbial saying goes, 'Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari, he toa takitini'," John said.

"The success of our club will be based on the effort of not one, but everyone."