Club History

HISTORY OF FEILDING MOA HARRIERS 1939-1989

The below articles on the history of the club as written by Bruce Wilson, Club Patron for new members.

1939 – 1960

The Moa Harrier Club was founded at a meeting held on 3rd March 1939. The foundation Officials were:

Patron:                         T.Collins
President:                    H.J.Webb
Secretary                     G.Coleman
Club Captain:              R. Lamberton
Coach:                          S. Morris
Handicapper:              H.Moss
Timekeeper                 _. Bell

The Club roll at the time was 11 members. The first run was held from the Community Centre on 22nd April 1939. 5 Runners took part – namely Lamberton, Batton, Haycock, Marsden and Page. In May 1939 a draft of Club Rules was approved. Early in the first season invitations for runs were received from Dannevirke, Masterton, Wanganui and Marton. The club took part in the Bulls to Marton Road race on the 16.09.39, Whangaehu – Wanganui Road Race on the 16.09.39, and 5 members competed in the West Coast N.I. Championships on the 29.07.39.

After 2 years of activity the Club went into recess from 1942 – 1945 inclusive. 2 Club members, C.Lee and W.Barrett lost their lives on active service during World War II.

The Club resumed activities in 1946, when the first open road race over a 12 mile circuit (Feilding – Colyton – Feilding) was run. The Anderson Rally at Dannevirke was been attended by the Club annually since 1949. The “A”Grade teams race has been won on 5 occasions by Moa Harriers. L.Shadbolt gained 1st place in 1949, 50 & 52, while H. Wilson won in 1957 and P. Hitchen 1958.

R.Lamberton, a foundation member of Moa Harriers won the Veterans Çup 1959.

The Wellington – Masterton Relay was attended by the Club from 1951 onwards and wins were registered in 1951 and in 1958 while 2nd place was achieved in ’52, ’54 & ’56.

1950 is remembered by Moa Harriers for 3 main highlights:

1.Winning the Olympic Gold Cup
2.L.Shadbolt winning the NZCC Champs
3.The “A’Grade Team winning the Anderson Rally Teams’ Race.

The West Coast, North Island Champs were held in Feilding on 2 occasions – 1951 & 57.Moa Harriers was honoured to be allocated the WCNI Champs in 1957. Three  Moa Harriers have held the title of WCNI Champion namely L.Shadbolt in 1951 & 54, H.Wilson in 1957 and P.Hitchen in 1958. Regular inter – club fixtures were held with the Marton, Palmerston North, Wesley, Dannevirke and Wanganui Harrier Clubs.

Club membership has fluctuated over the years, with the average  number on the Moa Harrier Club Roll over the last 13 years being about 30 (14 Seniors, 7 Juniors and 9 Colts). With a view to building up the future membership of the Club, the Committee decided this year (1960) to introduce a Midget Grade open to Boys from 8 – 12 years.

On Saturday 2nd of July 1960, the Feilding Moa Club celebrated it’s 21st Anniversary with a dinner followed by a social and dance, held in the Feilding Community Centre.

Officials at the time were:

Patron:             Mr.H. J. Dewe – local Mayor
President:                    Mr. C. W. Lea
Vice Presidents:          E. Woodruffe (Laurie’s father)
Wilson (Bruce’s father)
Cook
Secretary/Treasurer:    A. Galbraith
Club Captain:                   R. Lamberton
Handicapper:                   M. Scott
Committee:                      H.Stock, W.Kendall,Mrs.P.Murphy,  (later Pat Wilson), M.Scott, & B.Wilson.

There was only one life member alive at the time – C. W. Lea and   two life members who had passed away P. L. Barrett and H. J.Webb (Stephanie Seymour’s great, great grandfather)

1960 – 1989

These 1960 – 1989 years were Moa Harrier Clubs “Golden Years” with membership peaking at 114 runners in 1979. With the introduction of a Boys (midget) Grade in 1960, a separate grade for girls started in 1966, followed by a Junior Women’s Grade in 1967. A Women’s Grade was introduced in 1971. The Halcombe to Feilding Open Road Races began in 1959. This Race proving to be the best of it’s type in the district with 258 runners finishing the course in 1975. In 1964 an annual Open 16 mile road race (later to become the 24km Roy Lamberton Memorial) was introduced and for a number of years this race attracted a field of around 100 runners.

The West Coast North Island Cross Country Championships were again held in Feilding in 1980 and 1985. Moa Harriers held the Centre Road Championships in 1974 and 1976. Several Manawatu Championships, Norm Clarke Selection Trophy Races and Inter – Centre events were also hosted by Moa Harriers over this period with Club Members often meeting with success. Up until this time, on no fewer than 25 occasions Moa Harrier Club members had held the title of WCNI Champion.

In 1976 a new Moa Harrier Club uniform was introduced. It consisted of a brown singlet with gold binding on the sleeves and neckline, with the Moa emblem on the front. The shorts were gold with black stripes down the sides.

Moa Harrier Club commenced running the Woodruffe Course in 1954. In 1962 the Vautier Course was started, 1973 saw Burrell’s introduced to the programme, 1979 – the Watt Course, 1982 – the Master’s Course, and in 1985 the Davies Course became part of Moa Harriers tradition. These courses ranged from “flat and fast” to “rolling and testing.”

At this time the 2 longest standing runners in Moa Harriers were Lawrence Woodruffe and Bruce Wilson who had been running for 38 and 37 years respectively.

Many Moa Harrier Club members had acted as Officials over the first 50 Years. Those who had given over 25 years of service were Mr.C.Lea and .R.Lamberton 36 and 33 years respectively. Bruce and Pat Wilson had also given over 30 years service to Moa Harriers.

The Feilding Moa Harrier Club celebrated it’s 50th Jubilee on the weekend of 10th – 11th June 1989. The weekend programme began with a social get together on the Friday evening held in the conference room at the Feilding Hotel. Bar facilities were made available with supper being served and visitors collecting their weekend packs. Saturday saw visitors and members gather at the Burrell course (Kimbolton Rd.) for the running of the old-timers race followed by the Club Cross Country Championships. Showers were at the Feilding Agricultural High School with afternoon tea in the school hall to conclude the day’s activities. Back at the school hall in the evening there were pre-dinner drinks and  dinner followed by a disco. During the evenings festivities, four Moa Harrier Club members – John and Elaine Burrell, Lawrence Woodruffe and Keith Lind – were honoured in receiving Life Membership. A very enjoyable weekend concluded on the Sunday with a fun run, followed by a brunch BBQ held at Jan and Barry Masters’ property on Mt.Stewart-Halcome road.

Moa Harrier Club Officials at this time were:

Patron – Bruce Wilson, President – Barry Masters, Vice Presidents – John Burrell, Craig Osman, Lawrence Woodruffe, Maurice Watt, Reg Vautier, and Cliff Signal. Secretary – Paulette Hannett,Treasurer –Ian Wichtman, Club Captain – Peter Mathers, Executive Committee – Prue Cobham, Eric Reynolds, Keith Lind, Lyn Strudley, Pat Wilson and Trevor Fergus.

Life Members: Mrs.A.M.Woodruffe, Mrs. P.A. Wilson, Mr.A.Galbrath,Mr.B.A.Wilson, Mr.M.Scott.

 Life Members (Deceased)  –Mr.P.L.Barrett .H.J.Webb, Mr.C.W.Lea  ,Mr.R.M.Lamberton,Mr.E.Woodruffe

JubileeCommittee – Convener: Bruce Wilson, John Burrell, Barry Masters, Pat Wilson, Elaine Burrell, and Jan Masters.