The Kerikeri Makos have started the season without a home ground after the Far North District Council declared the Kerikeri Domain pavilion to be unusable.

Taitokerau Rugby League chief executive Hone Harawira was deeply unimpressed to hear the Kerikeri Makos' unhappy start to the the new season, which began on Saturday.

He said the Far North District Council were yet to give him a proper briefing on what was going on.

"Seems when I appear on the scene the rats scurry for cover," Harawira said.

Advertisement

After reading a council response yesterday, he said it left every question unanswered.

The Makos, who play their home games on the domain, used the shower and changing facilities at the pavilion last year, despite the building being boarded up since a fire in June 2016.

The Kerikeri Domain pavilion has been boarded up since a fire in June last year.
The Kerikeri Domain pavilion has been boarded up since a fire in June last year.

As of February 20, the council website stated the changing rooms were available.

Far North District Council manager Andy Finch said the council appreciated the impact the ongoing closure was having on the community, and in particular the Makos.

He also apologised for the incorrect information remaining on the website, which had been rectified.

The council had been seeking alternative changing facilities, and expected negotiations with the Kerikeri Community Fitness gym to allow the team to use its facilities on home match days to be finalised this week.

Harawira however, rejected that.

"The Kerikeri Makos should not have to use alternative facilities," he said.

Advertisement

"They have approval to use the Kerikeri Domain and the changing rooms. Instead of making them go somewhere else, [the] council needs to honour the agreement.

"The Makos play at the Domain."

Hone Harawira remains unimpressed with the responses from the Far North District Council. Photo / David Fisher
Hone Harawira remains unimpressed with the responses from the Far North District Council. Photo / David Fisher

Earlier, Makos spokesperson Aroha O'Leary said the situation was causing extreme stress, including financial, as the club had commitments to a major sponsor. Requests for permission to use facilities at the fire station and Kerikeri High School had been declined in the past.

There were no suitable grounds within Kerikeri, and travelling would not be viable.

Councillor Dave Hookway also described the response from council staff as unsatisfactory.

"The fire only scorched the roof purlins [and the] structural integrity is sound. [The] council resolved to repair this some 18 months ago, and no progress has been made since," he said.

Finch said a survey last April had, for the first time, identified structural roof damage, making it unsafe. Last month, after receiving the Makos' application to use the changing rooms, a building inspector made further inspections.

"Regrettably, due to ongoing water damage since the fire in 2016, it is not possible for the team to use the changing rooms and an insanitary building notice has been applied to the pavilion," he said.

"The required systems for fire safety are no longer functional, and the building no longer has a warrant of fitness."