The Hautapu Rugby Club started in the old bacon curing room at the Hautapu dairy factory n 1903. Men sat around on milk cans while Jack Cowling chaired. the club’s original colours were red and black, but changed to red and white with black shorts.
The first team was: Roy Crickett, Arthur Kelly, Durham Ashwin (captain), Charlie Shaw, Phil Goodwin, Cecil Ashwin, Arthur Healey, George Beer, Jack Cowling, Humphrey Russell, Jack Russell, Gibb Watt, Jack Milne, Ned Hall, and Tui Rangi. Jerry Allwill gave the team use of a field adjacent to the Hautapu railway station.
Jack Cowling took on the role of player-coach. They rarely won, but it was noted that Hautapu always came up smiling.
The club was reformed after the First World War in 1918; the club celebrated the arrival of outstanding administrator and personality Tom Turnbull in 1928; the club’s first All Black and club member Keith Arnold was made Waikato captain in 1948; the club established itself in the Waikato wide competition in 1968; the club won the Waikato third division championship in 1988; and then the club triumphed in the Waikato first division championship for the first time in 1998.
Today, Hautapu has become one of the strongest and most respected clubs in the Waikato. The spirit, skill, character, commitment and fortitude characteristic of the Hautapu club will continue to stand us in good stead for the future.