Mount Maunganui and Rangataua face off in this weekend's Baywide competition, they'll be near unrecognisable.

They will be wearing bright colours — Rangataua swapping their traditional black jerseys for white and the Mount side wearing pink, and most of their players will have their heads shaved.

The special edition jerseys will be sold via an online auction and about 12 players are raising money by shaving off their hair.

Although each side will look different, players' on-field rivalry, the love for their clubs and a good cause will remain the same. It's all part of the clubs' joint efforts to raise awareness and funds for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society.


Among those shaving their heads are captains Matty Axtens from Mount Maunganui Sports and Rangataua's Paranihi Lovett, who has been growing his hair for three years. Both men are looking forward to raising as much money as they can for the Cancer Society.

Mount Maunganui captain Matty Axtens and Rangataua captain Paranihi Lovett with Cancer Society's community services manager Ellen Fisher. Photo / George Novak
Mount Maunganui captain Matty Axtens and Rangataua captain Paranihi Lovett with Cancer Society's community services manager Ellen Fisher. Photo / George Novak

For Axtens, cancer has hurt immediate family members so he had no hesitation in getting involved.

The idea to use the Good Friday Baywide clash between Rangataua and Mount Maunganui as an awareness and fundraising event came after the death of someone close to both clubs.

Chris Elvin, from Mount Maunganui Sports club, said there was a lot of connection between the two clubs so he approached Rangataua members late last year about holding a joint fundraiser for the Cancer Society. Everyone was supportive of coming together for the cause, he said.

"We both lost a few people to cancer recently," Elvin says.

For Timoti Gardiner, Rangataua is his family club and he's now a senior player. He says they lost one of their club stalwarts, Rapata Ririnui, to cancer recently.

"It's a disease that affects so many people and the Cancer Society is a fantastic organisation who is there to help them through this tough time.''

Although there is no set fundraising target, they club want to raise as much as possible, with more than $8000 so far.


Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society's fundraising manager Catriona Findlay is grateful for the support of both clubs and everyone involved. All money raised will stay in the region and help provide free supportive care services, raise awareness through education programmes and fund cancer research.

"This is a great example of community fundraising at work and I'm looking forward to being there on Friday to see who takes bragging rights on the field," Findlay says.

"We're a community-funded charity, so it's only thanks to people like Chris and Timoti that the Cancer Society can be here for people with cancer and their whānau."

Meanwhile, although the match is for charity, it will be a different story once teams take the field.

"There is a lot of healthy rivalry between us. Every we time play each other, it's a big battle on the field and that won't be changing on Friday," Gardiner says.

Baywide Premier Men:
Friday: Arataki v Ōpōtiki, Arataki Park, Field 1, 2.15pm.
Friday: Tauranga Sports v Rotoiti, Tauranga Domain, Field 1, 2.45pm.
Friday: Greerton v Whakarewarewa, Greerton Park, Field 1, 2.45pm.
Rangataua v Mount Maunganui, Te Ariki Park, Field 1, 2.45pm.
Friday: Te Teko v Te Puke, Dunderdale Park, Field 1, 2.45pm.
Saturday: Te Puna v Rangiuru, Maramatanga Field, Field 1, 2.45pm.