By DAVID HILL
Kaiapoi’s men’s and women’s hockey clubs had contrasting fortunes in their early years.
The Kaiapoi-Hinemoa Hockey Club celebrates its 125th anniversary during Waitangi Weekend after starting out as two separate clubs.
The male-only Kaiapoi Hockey Club in 1895 became the first registered New Zealand hockey club, thanks to the influence of Anglican vicar Rev Henry Mathias.
As playing numbers were limited, young women and girls frequently made up the numbers. So, the following year, the Hinemoa Ladies Hockey Club was established.
The men’s club started strongly, winning the Canterbury Hockey Association competition in 1898 and 1899.
But hockey was not the only sport for men in town, competing against rugby and later rugby league, meaning in the period up to World War 1 the men frequently struggled to field a senior team after Rev Mathias left the town in 1900.
While surviving records of the men’s club are limited, the Hinemoa club kept a detailed minute book and journal of its activities, and there were extensive newspaper reports at the time.
The 1890s saw a growing emancipation movement, with women having been granted the vote in 1893 and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was particularly strong in Kaiapoi.
Well-known locals Blakeley, Evans and Pearce families among them WCTU and the Hinemoa club.
Hinemoa’s first official match was played against Christchurch at Kaiapoi on October 6, 1897, with the home side winning 6-0 and proclaiming itself “the champions of the southern hemisphere amen!”.
A trip to Wellington for a tournament in 1900 showed the growing popularity of women’s hockey, with newspaper reports indicating that parliamentarians were out in force to support their home teams.
But the newspaper reports also highlighted some curious notions from the era, lamenting the physical demands of hockey on young women, players taking the game too seriously, getting overexcited, and “almost behaving like men”.
The Canterbury Ladies Hockey Association and competition was established in 1908, 10 years later than the men.
Hinemoa went on to dominate the club competition, winning in 1910, 1911 and 1914, and placing second three times.
The club’s success on the field drew large crowds, with the Kaiapoi Borough Council challenging the club to charity matches.
In September 1914, six Hinemoa players were selected in the Canterbury starting 11 to play the touring All England women’s team.
The day began with a street parade in Kaiapoi, before the players and supporters boarded a train into Christchurch for the match at Lancaster Park.
Myrtle Pearce, of Kaiapoi, was the Canterbury captain and scored all three goals in the home side’s 3-2 win. She went on to play for the national side in the three-test series.
The two clubs combined in 1896 to form the Kaiapoi-Hinemoa Hockey Club.
The anniversary celebrations get under way with registration at the Kaiapoi Park clubrooms on the Saturday, with a junior hockey showcase in the afternoon and a meet-and-greet at the Kaiapoi Rugby Club’s rooms in the evening.
Participants can attend the Waimakariri Hockey Turf in Rangiora on Sunday afternoon, which will be followed by dinner and a dance at the Kaiapoi Club. For more information go to kaiapoihockey.co.nz.latest Nike releaseNike – Shoes & Sportswear Clothing