It was started by a group of gentlemen five decades ago, and since then it not only grew but in true community spirit became involved in just about any community-driven initiative.

It all started in 1969 when a motley group put their heads together that led to the formation of the Mangakahia Lions' Club with 26 inaugural members.

The proud club will on October 19 celebrate its 50th anniversary reunion with a dinner for past and present members and their wives and partners at the Mangakahia Community Sports Complex.

Club spokesman Rob Soar said while a large number of charter and past members have been located and invited, many and a number of more recent ones have passed on.


He said the club has grown over the years and became involved in many community-based activities in schools, kindergartens, sports clubs and other organisations with manpower, advice and financial assistance where needed.

Soar said the club has grown and at times struggled for membership, but with a core of dedicated men and strong leadership, it not only survived but flourished to this year celebrate its 50 years of existence.

The club's 25 members who come from places like Tutukaka, Kamo, Maunu, Maungatapere, Poroti, Kokopu, Kara, Titoki and Parakao showed a strong sense of camaraderie and loyalty and meet twice a month at the sports' complex in Poroti, he said.

The most recent and probably one of the largest and most ambitious projects undertaken by club was the $130,000 restoration of the Maungatapere War Memorial Church that lasted 18 months and involved 2100 man hours.

"It is a living, lasting memory of the true spirit of a Lions community project and the Mangakahia Lions was recognised and acknowledged with an award at the regional Lions organization for this project in early 2019," Soar said.

Mangakahia Lions Club president Ray Webb proudly shows off the spoils the club won for helping out with community projects. Photo/Supplied
Mangakahia Lions Club president Ray Webb proudly shows off the spoils the club won for helping out with community projects. Photo/Supplied

Other noted projects from past years are the fencing around the grounds of the Maunu Museum and Clarke Homestead and the annual quick-fire ham, chicken, turkey and hogget quarters raffles in the Cameron St Mall in Whangārei.

Soar said other activities carried out by the club in recent times were firewood splitting working bees as the main fundraiser of about $10,000 annually, a senior citizens
Christmas luncheon for the elderly with connections to the Mangakahia valley, an oratory contest for Year 7 and 8 students at local schools, a scholarship for senior students at Mangakahia Area School, assistance with the Zonta Book Sale, two annual golf tournaments which raised between $8000 and $10,000 per year for local charities, and telephone book deliveries around the Mangakahia Valley.

Soar is encouraging anyone with connections to the club who have not been contacted to get in touch with club president Ray Webb on 0272743860 or secretary Bob Jamieson on 0275116206.