A league team left homeless by a fire is desperately seeking a base for home games before the season kicks off next month.

Until halfway through last season the Kerikeri Makos used the showers and changing rooms in the pavilion on Kerikeri Domain while the building's floodlights allowed them to train on winter evenings.

However, the council-owned pavilion has been closed since it was damaged in a deliberately lit fire last year, leaving the Makos, as well as Kerikeri Squash Club and other groups, homeless. With power disconnected to the building the floodlights are also out of action.

Makos captain Tim O'Leary said the team is training on the Domain and the reserve opposite the Stone Store, but once daylight saving ended that would no longer be possible. Last season they resorted to training on an asphalt car park behind Kerikeri Library because it had lighting.


However, Mr O'Leary said the real problem was that, without showers, the team couldn't host home games. Without home games it was difficult to drum up support or enlist new members.

When games were still being played on the Domain the sidelines would be full of spectators, he said.

The team had approached Kerikeri Sports Complex and BaySports in Waipapa for help but their facilities were already fully booked by rugby and soccer teams. They had also looked into hiring a portable shower block but at more than $600 a week plus a $4000 delivery fee the cost was prohibitive.

Mr O'Leary said the council had suggested the team use Bledisloe Domain in Haruru Falls but many members walked to their games. Others drove from Kaeo and would face an hour's drive each way.

"At the end of the day we're not a Haruru Falls team, we're a Kerikeri team and we should be able to play here," he said.

The Makos had been helped by other teams in Te Taitokerau League but without a base their results had been slipping.

Hone Harawira, founder of the breakaway league, said the Makos and "poor old rugby league" got nothing while rugby had a multi-million-dollar facility next to Kerikeri's Heritage Bypass.

"I'm disappointed at the council's inability to make sure that rugby and rugby league can co-exist. All they've offered is a ground in the middle of nowhere [Haruru Falls] that no one wants to go to. I want league to have the same access to the same facilities as everyone else."


Te Taitokerau League split from Whangarei-based Rugby League Northland in 2015 in part over the long distances teams had to travel to compete. Eight teams took part last season.

A shortage of playing and training fields around Kerikeri is not a new problem but the Far North District Council is currently looking at acquiring land in the Waipapa area for extra sports facilities.