Hutt Valley Harriers was established in 1923 by two members of the Wellington Olympic Harriers club who were Hutt Valley residents, Neil Craig and Tom Hurly. Olympic Harriers strongly strongly supported HVH and the two clubs maintain close links to this day.
- 1923 – 13 members won the hotly contested Vosseller Shield around Mt Vic and in 1924 won the Wellington Cross Country Champs – a good start for the club.
- 1928 – The first harrier club in NZ to establish Lady Harriers with 10 members.
- 1940’s, 1950’s – This era undoubtedly the strongest in our history – we dominated local harrier competition.
Over the years, the Hutt Valley Harriers have called many places home. The first club rooms consisted of a shed at Hutt Park erected by club members out of old car cases. From there the club moved to five different Petone locations between 1950 & 1968 before moving to a room above Naenae Olympic Pool. After raising money to install showers, this accommodation suited our needs apart from one drawback: the sloping roof limited the area that anyone, but the shortest members, could stand up in.
- 1989 – moved to the Hutt Recreation Ground – shared with Hutt District Cricket Club.
- 2002 – moved to the Petone Cricket Club premises. This location and the facilities seem to suit most of our members.
Races and Events organised by our club
HVH member G. Dorne donated the Dorne cup in 1925 and it was won by our club that year (with three Dorne brothers in the winning team). It has been organised by us annually ever since. It has become one of the premier cross country events in the North Island and has attracted up to 1000 entrants.
The 1948 Dorne Cup was run when all other sporting events in Wellington were cancelled. The 200 starters in the senior event ran up Randwick Rd in water 30 – 45cms deep!
Hutt News Fun Run & Walk (later the Hutt Fun Run & Walk)
This popular event – run mostly on the riverbank trail – attracts entrants from the whole Wellington Region. For many years it was strongly supported by the Hutt News & other local businesses and the money raised was used to support Junior Athletics.
This road event allowed older runners and walkers to ‘strut their stuff’.
Noel (Snow) Taylor
Noel Taylor was a superb athlete and won the NZ Cross Country champs in 1948 and many other championships. In 1950, he placed 3rd in the Commonwealth Games 6 mile race. In spite of all his success, he took his running very casually and, in one important race, stopped to talk to a spectator and still won!
Brian Newth was one of just eight members of the New Zealand contingent that defied a government ban to attend the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He performed creditably in the modern pentathlon.
Jonathan started with the club around the age of 10 and progressed through the age grades. In 1994, he represented New Zealand in the 5000m final at the Commonwealth Games in Canada. He subsequently reached the semi-final in the 5000m at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and won the World Mountain Running Trophy six times. In 2004, Jonathan was named Athletics New Zealand Athlete of the year.
Anne was a club member in her teens and represented New Zealand in a 1500m final at Edinburgh in 1986, semi-finals in 1500m and finals in the 3000m in Auckland in 1990 and 10,000m final in Canada in 1994. She was also in the 5000m final in Atlanta in 1996.
At age 19, Nick was the first Kiwi at this age to break the 4 minute mile barrier. He went on to become New Zealand’s only two-time Olympic medalist in the 1500m event and achieved also picked up medals for 1500m in the World Indoor Championships, World Cup, and three Commonwealth Games. In 2022, he ran a sub-4 minute mile for the 20th consecutive year. Nick currently holds national records for the 1500m and 3000m.
Steve, Nick’s older brother, has also broken the 4 minute mile and had a successful track career in the 800m, 1500m and Mile events.
Numbers have ebbed and flowed over the years and currently stand around 120 members. Following the “running boom” of the late 1970’s, membership reached 140 and in the 1990’s “walking boom” the membership reached record numbers. The various Jubilees – 50th, 60th, 75th (1998), and the centenary in 2023 – were all well attended by members and ex-members from all over NZ. A booklet was produced for each Jubilee.
The club is in good heart and recently enjoyed its centenary in celebrations. A strong contingent of young runners keeps the orange singlet visible at the region’s events and a varied group of older runners also take pride in the singlet.
By Gordon Smith
(edited by Matthew Hunt, 2023)