Through engagement in the club and participation in cricket, it is intended a sense of unity, belonging and cohesion is fostered in an increasingly diverse East Auckland community.
The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club serves the traditional eastern suburbs and communities of Howick, Cockle Bay, Mellons Bay, Bucklands Beach, Eastern Beach, Half Moon Bay, Highland Park, Botany Downs, Sunnyhills and Pakuranga and now as East Auckland expands, also the newer suburbs of Burswood, Golflands, Huntington Park, Northpark, Sommerville.
The club also endeavours to support the schools in the community -
PRIMARY: Anchorage Park School, Baverstock Oaks School, Botany Downs Primary School, Bucklands Beach Primary School, Cockle Bay Primary School, Elm Park School, Howick Primary School, Macleans Primary School, Mellons Bay School, Owairoa School, Pakuranga Heights School, Pigeon Mountain School, Riverhills School, Riverina School, Saint Marks School, Shelly Park School, Star of the Sea School, Sunnyhills School, Wakaaranga School.
INTERMEDIATE AND JUNIOR COLLEGE: Bucklands Beach Intermediate, Farm Cove Intermediate, Howick Intermediate, Pakuranga Intermediate, Somerville Intermediate
SECONDARY: Botany Downs College, Edgewater College, Elim Christian College, Howick College, Macleans College, Pakuranga College, Saint Kentigern College.
This support is in the form of coaching, ball skills in the Physical Education Programme, tournament participation and the supply of cricket gear and equipment.
The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club can trace its origins back to the 1866-67 season, when a small band of Howick locals formed the Howick Cricket Club which was based on Howick Domain. After much practice and several married singles matches, The Club played its first official fixture in April 1867, against the visiting Onehunga Cricket Club.
From that time on there has always been an active cricket club in the Howick Pakuranga district, although it has moved homes on a number of occasions. Despite its central location, being low lying and swampy, The Howick Domain was not really suitable for cricket. The Club was delighted to accept an invitation to use Captain Every Maclean’s offer to play matches on his farm where the homestead Bleak House stands.
Captain Maclean was a highly influential citizen in the East Tamaki District, as the region was called at the time and was prominent in Auckland public affairs, so it was easy to get city teams to come out to play Howick and the locals were delighted to be invited to attend thsee matches. Howick used Maclean’s farm as a home ground from 1870 on for a number of years.
During the 1870’s there was an influx of farmers into the area, some of whom joined the Club. However, At the same time, Howick’s population declined and this led to the club merging with the Pakuranga Cricket Club although many keen Howick players still turned out. The major influence on the growth of Pakuranga Cricket Club was the Fitzpatrick family, all of whom lived in the Pigeon Mountain area.
Pakuranga became regarded as a strong rural club and provided stern opposition for city teams. It also played matches against teams from Panmure and Otara. Howick Cricket Club still played occasionally, usually against Pakuranga. Howick became more active in the 1880’s but had the same problem as Pakuranga in that the city clubs were now playing at Auckland Domain and it was impossible to get matches during the main part of the season.
This led to the first amalgamation between the two clubs in 1895 and entry into the Franklin competition which included Whitford and two Papakura clubs. The combined club won the championship four times before separating in 1900-01. Both Clubs were very active until 1914, but like so many small country clubs, they both went into recess until after the war.
Both clubs resumed during the 1920’s. Pakuranga continued to play country sides whilst Howick joined the Auckland City and Suburban Association based on the Auckland Domain. However Pakuranga’s numbers declined and as both clubs wanted to play in a country completion, they merged again in 1935 and played in the Manukau Sub Association against Whitford, Clevedon and Mangere, as The Howick Cricket Club.
The outbreak of The Second World War again saw to the Club go into recess in 1941. The club became active again in 1949 and In 1950-51, Howick rejoined the competition at Auckland Domain entering the Senior B Grade. It won the grade in 1954-55 and followed that with a win in Division 2 of Senior A in 1958-59. After going close on a number of occasions, in 1963-64 Howick Cricket Club finally won the Senior A Division 1.
If the Club was going to progress it need to join The Auckland Cricket Association and that happened for the 1964-65 season. Howick entered the Senior B grade competition and also fielded two lower grade sides. At this time, there was a growing junior division, an important part in the Club’s development. For the first ten years it was a struggle for the Senior team to gain admittance to Premier grade because Auckland operated a district competition that meant the areas best players had to join and play for Papatoetoe if they wanted to play representative cricket.
However, by the early 1970’s the situation was changing. There was a population explosion in Auckland, suburban areas were growing rapidly, clubs in the suburbs had large junior numbers and often fielded more adult teams than the established city clubs. Despite the ‘closed shop’ attitude of the older clubs, four new clubs were finally admitted into the Premier grade and The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club was included. The club had changed its name in 1968 in an effort to demonstrate that it wanted to grow cricket throughout the eastern suburbs.
The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club proved its point in the 1981-82 season, when Malcolm Haliday led the side to its first Premier Championship. Alan Hunt captained his side to the 1993-94 Championship and Bill Walsh, the current captain was successful with his team winning the Hedley Howarth Major two day championship in 2017-18. The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club has also won a number of Auckland Cricket Association Limited Overs and T20 Championships. It also won the National One Day Championship in 2006-7.
With excellent outdoor and indoor practice facilities, The Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club has highly successful well structured coaching programmes that place great emphasis on developing younger players. Many current and former national and provincial representatives, learned their cricket in these programmes.
Over 800 boys and girls turn out in the various junior competitions each week during the season and the Club is devoting considerable time and resources to supporting cricket in the local schools through the Schools Outreach Programme. Women’s and girls’ cricket are now integral parts of the club’s programme. The current challenge is to successfully engage an increasingly diverse East Auckland community in the wonderful game of cricket.
What began as a small country club, through 2 wars and challenge times, has developed into one of New Zealand’s leading cricket clubs, a combination of love of the game, vision, community spirit and hard work have been the ingredients of the success. Auckland Cricket Association Club of the Year for 2017-18 says it all.
By Jim Allnatt
Author of ‘Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club A History’