Hautapu Sports honours contributions of duo with Life Membership

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Hautapu Sports Club has recognised the contributions of two long-serving members by granting them Life Membership.

Former club president Benjamin Sinclair and former captain, coach and director of rugby Craig Stevenson become the 18th and 19th names to join the list of Life Members on the club’s honours board.

Both were presented with club blazers and received a rousing haka from players from all teams, led by senior players Tahere Reha and Kaea Hongara, at the clubrooms on Saturday May 6, 2023.

Main photo: Benjamin Sinclair (left) and Craig Stevenson.

The pair were joined by family members, friends and fellow club members to celebrate their induction as Life Members.

Their achievements and contributions to the club were outlined in their nominations for Life Membership. Here are extracts …

Benjamin Sinclair is joined by family and friends to celebrate his Life Membership.

Benjamin Sinclair

Sinclair has been continuously associated with the club since first joining in 1997.

He played rugby for the club’s U-19s and U-21s, and a decade playing for the Hopefools, who he managed for three seasons.

First elected to the committee in 2007, he served as assistant club captain, club captain and then served five years as president from 2016-2021.

During his quarter-century with the club, highlights have included winning four Waikato Premier Championships, B Championships and Cambridge Netball titles.

He was instrumental in the club’s first event to raise funds to combat cancer, starting a tradition the club continues.

As president, he led the long process of the Cambridge Sub Union handover to Hautapu Sports in 202.

Benjamin Sinclair’s engaging personality has helped encourage people from all walks of life to feel welcome, including coaches, managers, administrators and volunteers. He has always promoted a strong sense of club community.

The Stevenson family help welcome Craig Stevenson to the club’s select group of Life Members.

Craig Stevenson

After first joining the club in 1983, Stevenson has made many contributions as a player, coach and director of rugby.

He played for Hautapu during two spells in the 1980s, captaining the side at times, and establishing himself as a successful player for the Waikato and for the Chiefs.

After progressing through the Waikato Colts and Waikato B teams, Stevenson played 73 times for Waikato (1987-1997), and then played Super Rugby for the Chiefs in 1996-97. He played for New Zealand XV and had three All Black trials.

Though also coaching at a higher level, Stevenson continued to be associated with Hautapu and he has held various coaching roles at the club since 1998. As an assistant coach, he helped win the Waikato Premier title in 1999, as head coach, he led the side’s back-to-back title win in 2001.

Between 2014-2019, he was the club’s Premier A coach, winning another title in 2019.

He has been the club’s development coach since 2020 and was director of rugby 2020-21.

Stevenson has made a significant contribution to Hautapu Sports’ rugby programme over 40 years. While his achievements as a player and coach have been followed in public, his behind-the-scenes work for the club has included player recruitment and helping build sponsor relationships.

A gathering of Hautapu Sports Club’s Life Members (left to right): Craig Stevenson, Benjamin Sinclair, Kevin Burgess, Sherryn Hobbbs. Cathie Shaw, Keith Parsons, Ken Moreland. Absent: Ian Hughes.

Club’s Roll of Honour

READ MORE: Hautapu Sports Club’s Roll of Honour >>>>

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