A Kapiti Coast United life member is set to celebrate a major milestone.

When Brian Colegate, 82, runs out onto Weka Park, Raumati Beach, on Sunday at 2.45pm, it will be his 50th season for the soccer club.

The club stalwart can expect to kick off in the social game against Paraparaumu Cricket Club as well as a bit of refereeing in the second half.

Colegate is a popular figure in the team and despite his age is still nimble around the field.


"They love having me and like me being involved especially as I'm one of the originals."

Throughout the years Colegate has been a player, coach, referee, president and chairman at the club.

It all started in 1970 when the former Londoner, and Fulham supporter, became a member of the Raumati Hearts first team.

In the early 1970s the team would win the Wellington division one championship with Colegate setting the club record for most goals, seven, in one match, beating Wainuiomata 9-2.

The club has silverware, called the Colegate trophy, which is for the person who scores the most goals over a season.

His most memorable experience, of more than 80 first team matches, was a home game against Stop Out.

"With no more than 10 minutes to the final whistle and the score 4-1 to Stop Out, a number of positional changes led to a 4 all draw with Hearts threatening a winning goal on the final whistle."

The team would train twice a week, under the guise of a men's keep fit night class, at the Kāpiti College gym.

Brian Colegate at his beloved Kapiti Coast United grounds. Photo / David Haxton
Brian Colegate at his beloved Kapiti Coast United grounds. Photo / David Haxton

Tuesday evenings would focus on physical activity while Thursday evening's would feature a beach run and then some indoor football.

He recalled a period of Tuesday training led by a female ballet instructor.

"I'm not sure that we became more fleet of foot as a result of her attention but it did demonstrate the coach's willingness to try something different."

At the end of each training period they would have a shower before heading to the pub, in what is now the Kapiti Lights area of Paraparaumu, "for what one might euphemistically describe as tactical talks".

His teammates never ceased to be amused at his habit of taking pyjamas to training.

"It just seemed so logical to put my PJs on after showering, worn under my tracksuit, ready for bed, as it would be well past 10pm when we got home."


After playing at first team level for five years he reluctantly became the coach of the club's third team.

But with the expectation of fielding the best combination, Colegate found it difficult leaving substitutes on the sideline and missing out on game time.

"Having a game of football at the end of a working week was cherished by most players.

"I was happier when everyone got the chance to have a game even at the cost of winning."

What made him happy was turning out for the club's social team on a Sunday afternoon, which he has done for so many years.

Social games are always at home against opposition mainly from local organisations, business houses and non-football sports clubs.


And he's happy chatting in the clubrooms, which were built in about 1975 under the direction of builder Barry Shaw, digesting the game and having a bit of banter.

Or getting called on to say a few words, especially as the club's elder statesman, at the end of season prizegiving, which sometimes includes interesting anecdotes like the one about a special match which happened in the early 1980s.

"The most remarkable game we had here was when New Zealand played Germany.

"We exchanged flags, played the national anthems, and the German ambassador was here.

"I jacked it up because I was working at Defence headquarters when a German ship came in.

"The naval staff were always keen to get a programme for the sailors when they were ashore.


"Our first team turned out, midweek, and we did it really professionally.

"It was bloody great."

Indeed Kapiti Coast United holds a special place in Colegate's heart.

"I think we've been fortunate to have dedicated people who have put a lot of work into running the club.

"You can also go into those clubrooms and they're so well kept.

"We're in a great location and the climate is good.


"Although we're not in the big league of teams, the club has always played its part in the different areas of responsibility in the region.

"But the camaraderie is a big part of it."