The history of Kawerau Athletic, Harrier & Cycling Club goes back to 1952. Kawerau Harriers Club has been active since the early 1980’2. Back in 1978/1979 Dave Boyt, ex-Tasman employee now living in Auckland, instigated longer distance running in Kawerau. People like Wendy and Alex MacKenzie, Lou and Alan McGregor, Rita and Jim Mitchell and Beryl and Ron Wilson come to mind as fellow club founders. In the early 1980’s a sub committee was formed, Alex MacKenzie being the first president. A regular running programme was organized with cross country racing in winter months and road running in the summer.Also at that time marathon running was very popular and Kawerau had a large group of keen marathon runners pounding the forest tracks. In 1983 as many as 30 runners from the club entered the annual Fletcher Challenge Marathon. Some even ventured overseas to Australia and Hawaii to run marathons. With John Brierley running the famous London Marathon with other members being regular entrants of the Rotorua Marathon held on the 1st Saturday of May every year.
During the summer months, twilight runs were held at Tarawera Forest picnic area where sometimes up to 100 people came along, adults and children of all ages. Some of these courses are still run by members to this day.
The club has shared a good relationship with neighbouring Whakatane Athletic and Harrier Club and often visit one another for various races. The Whakatane club even chooses Kawerau’s cross country course for their annual club championship venue. In 1989 Kawerau College hosted the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Kawerau and all visitors were impressed by the ideal course.
The Tasman Forest Half Marathon goes back to 1982 when under howard Hyland’s Organization it was then the Tasman Half Marathon. In 1985 Tasman Forestry became the sponsors and Alex MacKenzie very ably took the reigns as race director followed later by Peter Harris. Gareth Pearson followed Brian Evans, Peter Wright and Pam Jackson.
The last running of the Tasman Forestry half Marathon was held in 1995 which with the loss of the Major sponsor and access to the forest. This caused the club to create a new event called The Great Mid-Winter Half Marathon and an 11km fun run/walk looping the Kawerau Township through the streets and parks and reserves over a two lap course based at Pinelands Motor Hotel on Tamerangi Drive this is held on the first Sunday of July with Major sponsors being Lion Foundation, Scotwood Trust and now Perry Foundation Trust. This event has up to 400 walkers and runners competing on the day. It is a major event on the Eastern Bay Athletic Calendar… Race Directors have been Pam Jackson and Peter Wright with Peter Wright and Sylvia Bonne as at 2009.
Gareth Pearson was also responsible for Kawerau Harrier Club’s now well known 10km run series, which ran for a number of years drawing people from all over the Bay of Plenty with Sponsors being Asmuss-Brooking, Mastertrade, Lockyers Sports followed by Glenn Graham Pharmacy.
In 1999 the club took on the organizing of the annual Tasman Mountain race up Mt Putuaki/Edgecumbe with Pam and Dennis Jackson being the main organizers along with Uru Awhimate organizing the School relays and the Prince and Princess event as well as Chris Margribanks and Heidi Wana having input from sponsor Norske Skog Tasman owners of the paper mills. The event is also supported by NZCT and Bay Trust along with Kawerau District council and other local organizations.
Achievements of club members have been Maureen Lawson competing in the Commonwealth Games. Meagan Edhouse competing for NZ in the world mountain running champ and winning a world team’s title at this event along with Aaron Strong also living and training from the club and representing NZ World Mountain Running Events.
Meagan Edhouse winning the Rotorua Marathon as well as winning the Toi’s Challenge and running a race record. Aaron Strong also holds the race record for that event for a number of years.
Club Presidents over the years have been Alex McKenzie, Allan Spanake, Gareth Pearson, Peter Harris, Mark Shannon, Brian Evans, Pam Jackson and Peter Wright.
The club created this website in 2004 with major input from Shaun Wright as web master working under the banner of Designsecrets with information about the club, the half marathon and mountain race as well as photos and regular updates. Hope you enjoy.