It was supposed to be a big day for Ōtiria.

The rugby club at the rural settlement just west of Moerewa was going to unveil a carved scoreboard, host a family gala, and play a big game in front of a home crowd.

Instead, the field and clubrooms were inundated in knee-deep floodwater leaving a slimy layer of silt on floors and furniture.

But it seems it's hard to keep Ōtiria down because, little more than a week later, the club is already bouncing back.

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Club captain Hone Townsend said a loyal crew of supporters turned up three days after the flood, once the water had drained, to waterblast, mop and dry out the clubhouse.

To everyone's amazement the fridge, freezer and dishwasher, all of which had been submerged, were still working.

''We dried them out, plugged them in, stood back and crossed our fingers — and away they went,'' Townsend said.

''Even our couch was under water but we dried it out. If we throw it away we've got nothing.''

More than 25 people braved a 6.30am start for the uncovering of Ōtiria Rugby Club's carved scoreboard. Photo / supplied
More than 25 people braved a 6.30am start for the uncovering of Ōtiria Rugby Club's carved scoreboard. Photo / supplied

The club's new carved scoreboard was uncovered and blessed at 6.30am last Saturday, a week later than planned, in front of a crowd which included two ministers, a Ngāti Hine leader and the chief executive of Northland Rugby. NZ Rugby boss Mark Robinson couldn't attend but called to offer his support.

Also present for the ceremony were carver Anthony Dunn and members of Kerikeri Men's Shed who built the structure.

''To have that many people turn up at that hour of the morning was awesome,'' Townsend said.

The only thing that didn't go Ōtiria's way last Saturday was the scoreline when they played an away game against Ōhaeawai.

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''It was 12-all at halftime. I'd rather not say what the final score was.''

Despite that, and the toll taken by the latest flood, Townsend was ''absolutely optimistic'' about the club's future.

''We have four more games to go. We're away this weekend, then we have probably two home games and the final. We could finish the season well and scratch our name on a cup if we do it right.''

Ōtiria Rugby Club captain Hone Townsend at the flood-damaged clubrooms on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Ōtiria Rugby Club captain Hone Townsend at the flood-damaged clubrooms on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Meanwhile, the club has created a Givealittle page for flood repairs and boosting members' morale.

Townsend's partner Pamela-Anne Simon said the flood had been ''deflating'' because the club had been trying hard to lift its standing and bring the community together.

''For our communities here in Ōtiria and Moerewa the flooding is an issue of poverty and it's intergenerational. There's been six in my lifetime — imagine how many our old people have been through.''

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A wealthier part of Northland would have local lawyers, engineers and doctors pushing for infrastructure to stop the floods, or with the skills to apply for funding.

Insurance was another problem with many homes, like the club, flooded so many times they could no longer get cover.

Otiria Rugby club captain Hone Townsend and his partner, community organiser Pamela-Anne Simon, with the club's new carved scoreboard. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Otiria Rugby club captain Hone Townsend and his partner, community organiser Pamela-Anne Simon, with the club's new carved scoreboard. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Townsend said his biggest worry was the elderly.

''We're resilient, we rally together and get it done. But I can't imagine being 70 or 80 and wondering if the flood's going to be in your house, and who's going to be able to help.''

■ Go to givealittle.co.nz to donate to Ōtiria Rugby Club's Flood Relief Fund.