Hutt Valley Harriers was established in 1923 by 2 Hutt Valley residents, Neil Craig & Tom Hurly – from the Wellington, Olympic Harrrier Club, and the latter club strongly supported HVH.
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.
First a shed at Hutt Park erected by club members out of old car cases – then 5 different Petone locations between 1950 & 1968 when we moved 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
Dorne Cup: HVH member G. Dorne donated the Dorne cup in 1925 – won by our club that year (3 Dorne brothers in winning team). Organised by us annually ever since. Probably one of the premier cross country events in the North Island and has attracted up to 1000 entrants.
Note: the 1948 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 – Popular road event – entrants from whole Wellington Region. Strongly supported by Hutt News & other local businesses. Money raised used to support Junior Athletics.
Masters 10km – Road event enabling older runners and walkers to ‘strut their stuff’ and their finishing times shame many younger entrants.
Well-known club supporters.
MPs – Sir Walter Nash, Mick Moohan and Trevor Young,
Mayors – Annie Huggan, Petone, Percy Dowse, Sir John Kennedy Good, Glen Evans and John Terris.
Composition of Membership
Running is a sport that attracts people from all walks of life – the club uniform is a great leveller!
Note: Top status presently has been achieved by a former member, George Hickton, who is CEO of Tourism NZ but many others have excelled in their respective fields.
Noel (Snow) Taylor
A superb athlete. Won NZ Cross Country champs 1948 and many other championships – 3rd in Commonwealth Games 6 mile race in 1950.
Note: Took his running very casually – in one important race he stopped to talk to a spectator and still won!
Brian Newth -1980 Moscow Olympics – defied Govt ban and performed creditably in the modern pentathlon.
Started with the club age about 10, progressed through age grades – represented NZ in 5000m final at Commonwealth Games at Victoria, BC Canada in1994 and reached the semi-final in the 5000m at Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and is now the undisputed Mountain Running Champion of the World. Has also been awarded NZ Sportsman of the Year.
Anne Hare – was a club member in her teens – represented NZ in 1500m final at Edinburgh in 1986, semi-finals in1500m and finals in the 3,000m at Auckland in 1990 and 10,000m final at Canada in 1994. She was also in the 5,000m final at Atlanta in 1996.
At age 19 was the first Kiwi at this age to break the 4 minute mile barrier.
Steve Willis – older brother of Nick has also broken the 4 minute mile.
Has ebbed and flowed over the years – currently about 120 members. Following the “running boom” of the late 1970’s it reached 140 and in the 1990’s “walking boom” the membership reached record numbers.
Jubilees – 50th, 60th and 75th (1998) – These were all well attended by members and ex members from all over NZ . A booklet was produced for each Jubilee.
Valleys United Harrier and Athletic Club
Supported by Athletics NZ (the governing body) all 5 Hutt Valley Harrier and Athletic Clubs ( Hutt Valley, Trentham United, Rimutaka and Wainuiomata Harrier Clubs and the Hutt Valley Athletic Club) merged in 1998, under the Valleys United banner. Life member, Bruce Kerse was the prime mover in the formation of this Club.
This merger enabled individual clubs to retain their separate identities and rules governing their internal competition and finances but increased their competitiveness against the previously dominant Wellington Clubs. This has been an unqualified success.
The club is in good heart and looking forward to it’s centenary in 2023!
By Gordon Smith.