A former Stratford rugby club player says that while many things have changed over the years, the community's support of the game has not.
Jim Cameron played in the Stratford rugby team for 11 years, joining in 1959, and playing in the half-back position.
"It was a wonderful time. I loved playing for Stratford."
While Jim originally played for Eltham, he says he transferred teams as his brother-in-law, Roger Urbahn, was the half-back for Eltham.
Roger was an All Black from 1959-60, playing 15 matches including three internationals.
Jim played 15 games for Taranaki and trialled for the All Blacks in 1966.
"I didn't get in but it was a great opportunity."
He says ever since he was young, he has loved rugby.
"I played all throughout my school years. During primary school I was part of the Taranaki representative team."
Jim says he can remember winning the 1959 championship, the first time the Stratford team had won since 1937.
"We had an average team and we won the final against Eltham, my old team. Each year after that we had more great players who joined us."
He says he will never forget winning the championship.
"It was the same day as my 21st birthday so it was quite a big day. I had so much pride in winning."
Jim says he can remember Guy McCutcheon, Jimmy Gould, Ian McDonald, Richard Coles, Alan Jury and Alan Smith being standout players in the team.
"From 1963-65 we had an outstanding team."
During that time, Don Carlson coached the team.
"He was our coach from 1959 to 1967. He had a 'go out and do it' attitude. We're still friends to this day."
The Stratford team won seven Taranaki titles in nine years, including five in a row.
"This was a big number for a Taranaki team."
He says the support of the Stratford community was always present at every match.
"You'd have almost the whole town behind you. At every game the stands were full of supporters. That hasn't changed."
Jim says there have been many changes over the years.
"In those days we would buy all our own gear. We never had sponsored gear. We also didn't have clubrooms either."
Jim says the competition structure is another notable change.
"There was top six, north and south competitions. The winner of each region played in a final. Then it changed to an all-round competition and then back to top six."
He says he enjoyed the provincial-wide competition best.
After shifting to New Plymouth in 1970, Jim says his family play for the Tukapa rugby team.
He is still involved with rugby to this day.
"I mark the lines for Tukapa at Sanders Park. I love to get out there and be involved."