Rugby players in North Hokianga will no longer have to use car headlights to practise on dark winter nights.

After a year-long community effort, floodlights were installed at Panguru Rugby Club, west of Kohukohu, last month.

The club fields North Hokianga's only remaining senior team with players travelling from Kaitaia, Pawarenga, Broadwood, Kohukohu, Panguru and Mitimiti.

The lighting was the result of a partnership between the club, Te Kura Taumata o Panguru (Panguru Area School), the Far North District Council and lines company Top Energy.


Club co-chairman Kereama Brown said in past seasons the lack of lighting meant training became more difficult as the season progressed and the days became shorter.

''The boys would resort to parking their cars around the perimeter of the field and turning on their headlights to be able to continue. This lighting is a real game changer for us,'' he said.

In 2018 the club and the kura approached the council, via the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, for a solution to the lack of lighting.

The council contributed LED lighting and funded the wiring while Top Energy donated a repurposed power pole. Others who helped shed light to practice nights were electrician Sam Penn and club members who dug the trenches.

Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw said the risk of flat car batteries at the end of practice and players getting caught in the headlights weren't conducive to a good sporting environment.

Brown said the new floodlights meant the team, which had its highest numbers in many years, would finally be able to prepare properly for the upcoming senior competition.

''With this lighting we're ready to tackle the season. No excuses now boys," he said.