Moturoa AFC

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Moturoa AFC
Moturoa AFC Logo.png
Full nameMoturoa Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Red's
GroundOnuku Taipari Domain, Moturoa, New Plymouth
Coordinates39° 04' 12" S 174° 01' 33" E
ChairmanScott Manson
LeagueTaranaki Premier League / Central Women's Federation League
20204th / 1st
WebsiteClub website

Moturoa AFC is one of New Zealand's oldest association football clubs. Based in New Plymouth, the club traces its establishment back to the New Plymouth Watersiders team[1] from the early years of the 20th century, and has historic links to each of the many schools from the area and greater New Plymouth.[2][citation needed]

The club refers to itself as the "Traditional home of Taranaki football".[3][dubious ] Its clubrooms and home ground are at the Onuku Taipari Domain, Ngāmotu Road, New Plymouth.[citation needed]

Moturoa AFC is home to many junior sides in the Taranaki age-group grades, providing a footballing base for players from the many surrounding schools.[citation needed]

Moturoa AFC has a rich history with the club having success in many regional and national competitions.[4][5][6][7]

2020 season[edit]

In 2020 Moturoa joined the Central Football Women's Federation League and finished the season as champions.[8][9] The Taranaki Women's Premiership side won the Duchess Cup for the third consecutive year.

2019 season[edit]

The Taranaki Premiership team finished the 2019 season as Taranaki Champions, unbeaten in the league and retaining the Premiership Challenge Trophy.[10][11] The team also won the Sheffield United Plate by defeating the 2018 Central Federation Cup winners Eltham AFC.[10][12]

The Moturoa Women's Premiership team finished the 2019 season as Taranaki Champions, winning the League Challenge Trophy, the Central Federation Cup, the Duchess Cup[10] and the Moturoa pre-season 5-a-side tournament.[11]

Moturoa players Fernanda Toscani and Hayden Murray were awarded the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year at the 2019 Central Football - Taranaki Prize Giving.[10]

Early history[edit]

Originally the Moturoa Football Club was a short-lived rugby club, started by the Breakwater Sports Committee in the kiosk at Ngāmotu Beach in early 1914, before amalgamating with the Star club. Moturoa FC's home ground was the prison reserve field at Otaka Street, Moturoa. The club retained one junior team for a short period after the amalgamation that played in the Moturoa club's colour white, with the addition of a star emblem on the shirt chest.

From 1915 to 1921 there was no official Taranaki Championship due to the war.


There was an annual meeting of the New Plymouth Association Football Club in mid-May 1926 where it was decided that the Moturoa and New Plymouth Clubs' combine for the purpose of entering a team for the Julian Cup.[13]

The Julian Cup fixtures were revised following the late entry of the combined Moturoa and New Plymouth side. Commencing on 22 May and finishing on 24 July. competition.

Portrait of New Plymouth football team with the Chinese Residents Challenge Cup in 1926
New Plymouth & Moturoa combined- 1926 Chinese Cup winners

Moturoa FC first affiliated with the Taranaki Football Association in the 1928 season. The 1928 Julian Cup competition was split into north and south divisions with the winners of each qualifying for the final. Caledonian defeated Moturoa 4–0 in one of the first matches of the season.[14] Caledonian beat Moturoa in the Duff Cup, a huge score-line of 10–0 recorded.[15] Playing for the Duff Cup in September, Caledonian defeated Albion 3–0, and Moturoa beat the Fitzroy Rangers 3–0.[16]

Moturoa won the 1929 Chinese Cup. Moturoa's intermediate team, competing for the 1929 Plunket Cup, lost the final to Caledonian.[17] Moturoa also won the Plumb Cup for the Taranaki junior championship.[18]

Taranaki Football Association had a special meeting after receiving a letter from the New Plymouth clubs, with the Julian Cup lacking in entries. Only Stratford, Celtic (Hawera) and Albion had entered clubs. Moturoa, Caledonian, Rangers (Fitzroy) along with the club Pirates (New Plymouth) citing travel around Taranaki as detrimental to the progress of their junior competitions. Moturoa's first game was scheduled for 10 May against Pirates,[19] the result being a 5–1 win.[20] Moturoa played Hawera club Celtic away at King Edward Park with the game ending Celtic 3, Moturoa 1.[21] Early June, Moturoa defaulted to Albion. Celtic, Pirates, Caledonian and Stratford managing to field teams. The next weekend Moturoa beat Hawera 2–1 at New Plymouth.[22] In early July Moturoa was drawn to play Stratford away in the first round of the Chinese Cup.[23] A match day later, Stratford became the winners of the Chinese Cup for the season beating Hawera. Moturoa faced Caledonian in a 4–4 draw for the Duff Cup (Duff Rose Bowl) the same weekend as the Chinese Cup final.[24]

Moturoa's Mr. F. Roper would be selected for the 1930 Taranaki Representative team, captained by W. H. Stewart and vice-captain A. Beare, making him the first Moturoa player to be selected for a senior Taranaki provincial side.


1931: In attendance at the TFA AGM were Moturoa club delegates, F. Roper and G. Rendell. The draw was made for the Julian Cup with Moturoa playing Albion in the first round.[25]

Moturoa Football Club. 1931 Priest Shield 6-a-side winners
Moturoa 1931 Priest Shield 6-a-side winners

Moturoa won the annual six-a-side competition for the Priest Shield at New Plymouth in 1931. There were six teams in the competition which was conducted at Western Park. The players in the final for Moturoa were: goal-keeper Roy Johns, R. and F. Roper, Anderson, White, Smith. And for Stratford: Grierson, Thompson, Henderson, O’Shannessey, McGrory, Elgar. The final score was Moturoa - 3 Stratford - 1. White getting a hat-trick for Moturoa.[26]

Moturoa's Thompson and Anderson were members of the North Taranaki side selected by Mr. D. J. Wallace to play South Taranaki in the trial match for the Taranaki team at Eltham. Both players were selected as reserves for the Dr. R. J. R McCredy managed Taranaki side to play Wanganui at Wanganui on 29 August. The rest of the 1931 Taranaki team included; in goal, Neighbour (Albion); the backs, Henderson (Stratford) and Beare (Hawera); halves, Rendall, Parkinson and Berry (Albion); forwards, Miller, McGrory, Payne (Stratford), Young and James (Hawera), the other reserves were, Crawford and Gardner (Caledonian) and Ashton (Albion).

1932: In early July in the Duff Rose Bowl competition, Moturoa played Pirates with Harris scoring a hat-trick, along with goals from Shippey, Anderson and Christensen, the final score 6 - 1. [27]

The 1932 season concluded with the annual Priest Shield contest at Western Park. Moturoa exiting in the semi-finals to Albion 2–1.[28] 1932 Albion FC won the treble with the Julian Cup as Taranaki champions, the Duff Rose Bowl, and the Priest Shield tournament.

1933: At the TFA's annual meeting in late April, held at Smith's Tea Rooms in Stratford, Waitara, coming out of hibernation after 20 years, were accepted as an affiliated member of the association, giving further competition for Moturoa and the teams in the Northern sub-association. Albion were congratulated for winning all of the trophies in the prior season. A loan was made of £5 to the northern sub-committee. Moturoa's delegates at the meeting were G.E. Roper and R.J. Page. Times had changed in South Taranaki, with the Stratford and two Hawera clubs listed as inactive. The season start date was set for 6 May.[29] Stratford turned this around and managed to field a team by May.[29] The Julian Cup became a one-round competition. In all competitions except the Duff Cup, it was decided that the home team retained all the collections taken up at the match. A life sentence handed down to a player from an undisclosed club by the executive for the "unfortunate breach of the rules of good conduct", was reduced by the New Zealand Football Association (NZFA) to a five-year suspension.[29] Moturoa played the newly affiliated Waitara for the first time in the middle of May. The match result being a draw.[30] The week after this significant fixture the club faced Caledonian losing 2–1.[31] Following that match another loss, this time to Albion 6–0.[32] Moturoa played Stratford, at Stratford, in June in their final Julian Cup game for the season. The game ended in a one all draw, both goals from the first half. The Moturoa team list read as follows; Thompson, Roper, Simpson, Anderson, Bensley, Johns, White, Kenny, Christensen, a second Thompson and Grey. The Julian Cup was won again by Albion.[33] The first round of the Duff Rose Bowl saw Moturoa defeat the recent Julian Cup winners Albion, 2–1.[34] In the second week of July the TFA suspended club football as the Taranaki representative team were travelling to Manawatu. An exhibition game of Probables v Possibles at Victoria Park used the remaining local players, with the hope of stimulating interest in the code again in South Taranaki. Moturoa's representatives scheduled to play in the fixture were, R. Kenny, R and F Roper, J. Thompson and A. Smith.[35] The executive of the TFA met on 11 July at New Plymouth, Mr. G. E Roper from Moturoa agreed to broadcast talks on the game from local radio station 2XP. His first subject said to be "The Organisation of Association Football in Schools". At this time there was a considerable effort to establish the game in the schools. Stratford reporting that Tokaora and Waingongoro schools had requested balls. The executive considered the report of the referee, Mr. R. Swan, in regards to J. Thompson from Moturoa, and his sending from the field in the match against Waitara at Fitzroy on 1 July. Moturoa submitted a resolution and made representations in support, Thomson explained his view of the matter. It was decided to censure Thomson, but to take no further action as it was considered he had been sufficiently punished in being stood down from the Taranaki team that travelled to Manawatu the match day prior. It was also noted in the minutes that Moturoa was to be asked to explain in "counting out" the referee after a recent match.[36] In bad weather in late July, Moturoa played the Pirates in the Duff Rose Bowl. The score, unconfirmed, a probable 0–0 draw.[37]

In 1934 Moturoa defeated this years Taranaki Champion, Stratford, 2–0 in a friendly match at the end of the season at Stratford. This match would be the only loss suffered by Stratford who had won the championship undefeated. The Moturoa side were said to be more even in their play, combining well. W. Thompson scored early from a penalty, with the score remaining 1–0 at half-time. J. Thompson closed the game out late in the second half from a free-kick that "dropped neatly under the bar". Mr. Johns, a Moturoa supporter, stepped in after the absence of appointed referee Mr. E. H. Linnell of Stratford.[38] Moturoa were runners up this year in the Julian Cup. The team included; goalkeeper Atkinson, J. Thompson, Jackson, Anderson, W. Thompson, F. Roper, Christensen, R. Roper, H. Johns and T. White.

Moturoa Football Club (Moturoa School) 1934 Malayan Shield Winners

The Moturoa School team won the Malayan Shield in 1934 with Mr. P. Gardner and Mr. E. Kenny as coaches, and D. Kendall as captain.

Mr P. Gardner and Mr. E. Kenny were the Moturoa club delegates at the Taranaki FA in 1935.[39] Caledonian and the Pirates dissolved with its players mostly joining new club New Plymouth Thistle, including some players from the Stratford AFC. Stratford AFC and New Plymouth Thistle would hold first and second place on the table in 1935, with Hawera, Albion, and Moturoa next, ahead of a resurgent Manaia association football club.

On 29 August 1935, the Auckland Association team played a New Plymouth selection at Western Park. The score at half-time was one goal each, in the second spell the Auckland side scored three more goals for a 4–1 victory. The Aucklanders headed south after the match to play at Wanganui the next day, and at Wellington on the Saturday.[40]

At the conclusion of the 1935 season Stratford again proved successful in retaining the Julian Cup and were runners-up in the Duff Rose Bowl competition, There were six senior and three junior teams playing during the season, including the newly formed Hawera and Manaia teams. Thistle won the Duff Rose Bowl and were runners-up in the Julian Cup. Hawera won the Chinese Residents Cup. The junior grade competition was won by Waitara. Manawatu withdrew from the Lawrence Trophy triangular contest, leaving it to be decided between Taranaki and Wanganui. Wanganui won the contest on goal average over two matches played.[41]

The Taranaki championship was once again split into north and south divisions in 1936 with Moturoa, Albion, Thistle and Stratford in the north and Auroa, Manaia and two teams from the Hawera club south of the mountain. The remaining rounds of the Julian Cup had Moturoa drawn on the 9th to play Albion at the New Plymouth Racecourse ground but the game was forfeited with Moturoa unable to field a team on the Saturday. The same match-day Stratford suffered defeat in the Julian Cup for the first time in two years losing 5–2 to Thistle at Stratford. Late May in the Northern Division, bottom placed Moturoa and second placed Stratford fought out a one-all draw in a Julian Cup game at Stratford. The Stratford press reported, "Fast, keen football was provided, Moturoa had the territorial advantage in the first spell and obtained the first goal. Their backs proved reliable and their halves fed the forwards effectively. Stratford's forward movements lacked finish and the ball was kicked behind or out when it should have been sent to the centre and inside forwards. In the second half Stratford, through better play by the backs and halves, were pressing all the time and undoubtedly should have won the match. Dan Clarke's long grass kicks were a feature of the match, and Les Jones, Jackson and Clements played well. Although Henderson, centre forward, had numerous opportunities, he was well marked and never found the goal. Stratford's only score came from a dribbling rush by Jones. In the Moturoa ranks, P. Gardner was outstanding on attack and defence and both Anderson and Roper, the full-backs, played a solid game. Their kicking and placing was particularly good." Moturoa and Midhirst primary schools played the curtain-raiser. After a keen- closely fought game, Moturoa were victorious by 2 goals to 1. Mr. J. Thomas was referee for both matches.[42] A return match was played when Midhurst travelled to New Plymouth to play Moturoa on 30 May. The same weekend Moturoa would play out a 3–3 draw with Albion at the Racecourse no.2 pitch in a strong southerly wind. The Racecourse no.1 pitch hosted Thistle and Stratford with Thistle winning 4–1. The win put Thistle five points clear at the top of the Northern Division. In the final for the Julian Cup Thistle defeated Southern Division winner Hawera B by three goals to nil. The match was played at the Regan Street ground in Stratford. Thistle for the first time all season were well matched and up to half time there was no indication as to which team was likely to win. Hawera had the advantage of a following wind and allowed superiority in the half back line. Hawera faded after half time however the scores 1–1. Thistle quickly added another goal. From then on Plant, the Hawera goalie, was kept constantly busy. Thistle's scorers were Henderson, Hill and Murphy, Stewart scored for Hawera. The teams were: Thistle: J. Rae, Crawford, McKay, Black, Henderson, Scott; Hill, R. Rae, Murdoch, Ryan, Collingwood. Hawera B: Plant, Putts, Cockerill, Kilson, Barker, Olliver; Hart, Langlands, Stewart, Fink, Matheson. Mr J. Thompson was referee. During the season New Plymouth Thistle also used reserve goal-keeper, Pranklie.[43]

Australia toured New Zealand in the winter of 1936,[44][45][46] playing a match against Taranaki on 15 July. Australia had amassed 50 goals and conceded only 7 in the two tests and five regional matches played already on the tour before arriving in Taranaki. The second test against New Zealand was won 10–0 by the Australians less than a week before the fixture at the Hawera Showgrounds. The Taranaki squad chosen by Messrs. N. Bremner, J. Thompson & F. Starling would include a front line dominated with players from the New Plymouth Thistle club with Hill, Beckitt, L. Henderson and Collingwood and Hawera's Bowen selected. The halves would include Stratford's Jackson, with Hawera's Starling as captain and Parkinson from the Albion FC. In the backs Crawford from Thistle and C. Henderson from Stratford AFC in front of Hawera's goalkeeper Plant. Moturoa's Peter Gardner was selected as reserve with Cockerill from Hawera.[47] Taranaki's Starling would score from a penalty with Collingwood and Beckitt adding two more goals in a 9–3 defeat to the "Brilliant Australians".[48] The Australian team then left Taranaki and headed to Auckland for the third test on the 18th.

Miss Margaret Way became "the only women secretary of a football association in New Zealand" reported the Thames Star on 19 August, recently resuming the responsibility of looking after the affairs of the Taranaki Football Association. Appreciation of Miss Way's keenness was expressed by members of the Council of the New Zealand Football Association when at its meeting a letter was received from her advising the council of her new position.

The 1936 Duff Rose Bowl was won by Hawera in late August after New Plymouth Thistle defaulted the final.[49]

Taranaki played the recently crowned 1936 Wellington champions, Hospital FC of Porirua at Pukekura Park in September. Messrs. T. Murdoch, James and Barker joined the squad from the match against Australia. In fine weather and dry conditions Taranaki took an early two goal lead before Hospital scored twice. In the second spell Hospital score twice more to win the game 4–2. Hill's dangerous curving shots, Moturoa's Peter Gardner and Beckitt combining as a central distributing role to the outside, and the defensive effort of Crawford, Wood and keeper Plant receiving praise in the Taranaki Herald. The referee was Mr. J. Thompson. Midhurst School and a New Plymouth Combined side played out a draw in the curtain-raiser. The Sturmey Shield was presented to West End School jointly with Midhurst School for the years schools competition.

At the annual general of the NZFA on 19 March 1937, a new rule was made in favour of replacements to be adopted throughout New Zealand after a remit from the Otago FA. The rule was made by 17 votes to 3. "We are affiliated to the English FA and we play, under their rules," said Mr. W. G. Bryce, "I don't think we should be loyal to them if we allowed replacements." Other members considered that replacements "would speed up and improve the game" being "better for the public, which paid to see fast football" The Taranaki, Wairarapa, and Wanganui associations delegates opposed the change. One member thought it should apply to the first spell only and be left to the associations or captains to agree upon in interprovincial games suggesting that a special dispensation for the change be sought from the E.F.A. Mr. F. Campbell did not think England would worry anything about a change if New Zealand made it. Earlier in the meeting it was suggested that the association should get permission from the English Football Association to make replacements in the matches to be played with the English amateur team on its tour of New Zealand later in the season. It was stated in regard by Mr. Campbell that there would be "no need except for the test matches as the NZFA was the controller of the game in New Zealand." Stressing the need for replacements Mr. Campbell recalled the farcical situations that arose during the Australian tour of 1936, when ten and sometimes nine men tried to play eleven, no replacements being allowed.[50] FIFA first permitted substitutes in 1958 with the English Football League not allowing a substitute player until 1965/66.

In the pre-season of 1937 Taranaki played Wellington Waterside at New Plymouth. Taranaki won the match 5–2.[51] Waterside would continue on and win the 1937 Wellington championship, and the 1938 Chatham Cup.

Playing at Pukekura Park on 23 May, in a return match for the 1937 Lawrence Trophy, the Taranaki representative team drew with the Wanganui representatives each team scoring 3 goals. Having won the previous match by 3 goals to 1 Taranaki secured the trophy by the margin of 6 goals to 4 on aggregate.[52]

The English Amateur XI toured New Zealand in 1937 accompanied by the seventy year old Charles Wreford-Brown arriving in Auckland on the SS Tamaroa.[53][54] The English were proclaimed, "the Greatest Exponents of Football." and player Ted Collins, "the Fastest Man on a Football Field. He owns Greyhounds and trains with them. Terry Huddle, goalkeeper, 6ft 3in of muscle, can throw the ball as far as the average kick. Every player a star attraction," in an advertisement before the game against Wellington. Arthur Stollery, the future Notts County F.C. manager would be the trainer for the English Amateurs.[55] The Taranaki region would not see a visit from the international English team though a few players were invited to join a Wanganui/Taranaki team that played the English XI on 17 June at Cooks Gardens in Wanganui. 2000+ spectators watch a 12 - 0 lesson handed out by the English on a sodden ground in steady rain. The match report from Wanganui in the New Zealand Herald started under the headline "Goalkeeper's Holiday" with the report further explicating, "The Englishmen led 5-nil at halftime, their positional play, and short, snappy passing repeatedly undoing everything that their opponents accomplished. It was a treat to watch the cross-field tactics of the visitors and to note how carefully each kick placed the ball to a waiting team mate. But for the Wanganui goalkeeper, Alex Healey, the score would have been well in the twenties. His performance was remarkable considering that 90 per cent, of the play hovered around his goal. In contrast the English goalkeeper had time to sign autograph books while play was in progress." Apart from Healey, Whiting, left-half, and Proudfoot, left-back, were outstanding in the Wanganui-Taranaki team, which was never anything but a side of individuals. The paper then followed, "The outstanding player on the English side was Bernard Joy, centre-half, who was never extended throughout the match but gave glimpses of what he would be capable of if pressed. The English team never passed the ball to disadvantage, whereas the home players would attempt combination only to find an Englishman ready to accept a pass not intended for him. Roy Matthews scored six goals, Bernard Joy two, William Parr two, and Fred Davies and Tommy Leek one each.[56] Roy Matthews the English forward from Walthamstow Avenue F.C. reached an incredible 26 goals in the nine games of the New Zealand leg of the tour before the side left for Sydney. 1937 tour members, Lester Finch, Frederick Riley, John Sutcliffe, Louis Terry Huddle, Bernard Joy and Corporal Stan Eastham had all been members of the Great Britain Olympic team at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.

In 1938 the Moturoa Football Club is constituted.

Waitara AFC won its first title since 1905 by winning the 1938 Taranaki Championship and Julian Cup.

There was no official competition for Taranaki clubs in 1939.

By 1939 the New Plymouth Boys High School had formed a strong following for the code at the school. The Hutton brothers, Simpson and Meuli to note amongst a vast group of above-average sportsmen who played for the High School during the 1940s. Simpson joined Moturoa winning the Duff Rose Bowl in 1946 and 1947 before joining the new City club in 1948. Meuli, already an age-group Taranaki representative, then played for the Victoria University side with Bal Reddy of the Student Association stating in the Salient in 1949, "...add to these (players) Ted Meuli, sharp shooting bombshell from Taranaki, who seems rather out of place in a motley of hacks."[57] Meuli joined Old Boys' after returning to New Plymouth, then switched to Moturoa in the mid 1950s, remaining at the club until 1975. Herb Hutton played for the 1945 Old Boys' side joining Moturoa in 1946.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force team from the airbase in the New Plymouth Airport at Bell Block won the Taranaki Championship in 1940.

There was no official competition until 1943 due to the war.


The RNZAF won the Taranaki Championship once again in 1943.

In 1944 the A.T.C. No.8 Squadron won the Taranaki Junior Competition. The Air Force team was captained by Mr. K. Whittle who would join Moturoa FC in 1945. Mr. H. Hall was the teams' coach, Watson the deputy-captain, Frost, Ryan, Kingstone, Eustace, Mace, Spence, Kirkland, Crow and future Old Boys' life-member Mr. Ces Riches.

Old Boys' won the Taranaki championship in 1944 and 1945. In 1946 Albion FC won the Taranaki Championship, its first since 1933. Moturoa won the Duff Rose Bowl and Priest Shield. The team had W. Connett, W. Ramsdale and captain Norm Quinlan from the 1934 Moturoa School Malayan Shield winning team in its ranks, joined by K. Whittle, A. Fowles, K. Lovell, W. Smith, R. Wilmhurst, R. Simpson (v-capt.), H. Hutton, P. Lawlor and G. Dutton.

The Albion FC won the 1947 Taranaki Championship. It would be the club's fifth and final time to be crowned Taranaki champions.

The 1947 Duff Rose Bowl was won by Moturoa.

At a meeting of the TFA in June 1947, "bitter complaints" on the subject of national selection were heard. The executive of the Taranaki Football Association decided to protest to the New Zealand Football Association because the minor associations had not been given an opportunity to be represented in the New Zealand team to play the visiting Springboks. The New Zealand association was to be asked if the Taranaki and Wanganui senior elevens could play their first match for the Lawrence Trophy as a curtain-raiser to the first of the two matches against the Springboks to be played at Wellington. The request arose from criticism by Mr J. Hill of the method of the New Zealand selection. He said the method was unfair with the exception of Kidd from Wanganui who was in "because he played for Wanganui against Wellington the previous season". All players in the New Zealand trial were from the four main centres.[58] The Springboks side won the four tests against New Zealand. The second match in Wellington, the third test of the tour, was won 8–3 by South Africa.[59] In the curtain-raiser Wanganui beat Taranaki by 4 goals to nil, the scorers being Scott (3) and J. Kidd.[60]

The City club was constituted in 1948 giving New Plymouth a fourth football club joining Albion, Old Boys' and Moturoa. These clubs were then joined by the Overseas FC and the New Plymouth Boys' High School XI at the start of the new decade.

Moturoa Women's Football[edit]

The original Moturoa women's team emerged in the late 1960s. At the time only friendly matches were played. In 1969, the hard playing Moturoa team, who played in white included players; Pat Kelly, Irene Johnston, Jan Mayhead, Carol Fugett, Jean Craven, Irene McMurray, Marg Webber, Kay McManus, Robyn Webber, Carol Read, N. McLaughlin and Barbera Cring brought in from Palmerston North.[61] In the early 1970s the Moturoa Ladies had changed to wear red shirts and white shorts and socks, and began to play matches further afield.

The Taranaki Women's Football Association (TWFA) was formed in 1975. At the inaugural meeting on 12 March at Lynmouth Park it was decided to have a trial run to see how women's soccer would go in Taranaki. One decision made at the meeting was that only goalies were allowed to wear soccer boots, the rest of the team having to wear sandshoes. Within a month a special meeting was called to discuss soccer boots for all team members. This was unanimously passed by the 8 team delegates. Teams entered for the first competition were Stratford Old Girls, Stratford Ladies and Inglewood as Combined, Fitzroy, Opunake, Central City, Old Boys and Moturoa. In October the TWFA became affiliated to the New Zealand Women's Football Association (NZWFA).[62]

By 1982 the TWFA had 17 women's teams competing from 14 clubs. Okato College and Sacred Heart College entered their first teams joining, Eltham, the Pumas and Panthers from Central City Football Club, Inglewood who had taken over the early Combined team, United 77, Waitara High School, the Fitzroy Ladybirds, New Plymouth United, Opunake, Hawera, New Plymouth Girls High School, Old Boys Wanderers and Moturoa/Spotswood.[63]

In 2011 Moturoa won the Central Federation Cup for the first time. The final, against the Hawkes Bays' Maycenvale United, was played at Memorial Park, Palmerston North. Goals from Kat Greaney, and captain Nikki Wenzlick before half-time, sealed the result 2 - 0.[64]

In 2013 Moturoa won the treble with the Taranaki title, the Duchess Cup and the Federation Cup. Coached by former Moturoa player Campbell Waugh and captained by former New Zealand Universities and national age-group representative Chelsea Aim, the side was undefeated in 20 games, with the only dropped points a draw with Waitara in the Taranaki Women's League. 49 goals were scored and 6 conceded. Danielle Rodgers netted 13 times, players in the squad included; Nicole Sarten, Ella James, Tayla Stuthridge, Kat Greaney, Cheyanne Reed, Teneale Stuthridge, Madi Hill, Brooke Carter, Kristina Rule, Jaimee Paterson, Nikki Wenzlick, McKenzie Kawana-Waugh, Jasmine Middlebrook and Hannah Sarten. In pool play for the Federation Cup the Hawkes Bay's Port Hill United were defeated, before a 6 - 0 victory in the semi-final against Palmerston North End. The Federation Cup final at Turuturu Park in Hāwera was against an unbeaten and free-scoring Wanganui Athletic.[65] Manawatu Top 4 champions Athletic, had hit the net in excess of 130 times during their season, and also qualified for the Central League play-offs. Moturoa took the match and the trophy 1 - 0, with a strong defensive effort and a late winner. [66][67][68] The Taranaki Duchess Cup final against Waitara SC, at Pukekura Park resulted in a 1 - 0 victory.

The 2018 season saw Moturoa finish as runner-up to Massey University in the Central Women's Federation League. Moturoa's top three scorers in the league were; Anna Hinton with 5 goals, Sophie Crewe with 7 goals, and Fernanda Toscani with 13 goals.[69]

Moturoa's Magyars[edit]

Attila Varga,[70] László (Laci) Varga and Lotsy Polyanszky were prominent players for Moturoa,[71] arriving in New Plymouth soon after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. When the Hungarians arrived in New Plymouth they would strut their skills down at the beach at weekends with a laid-back style, lazy juggling and magnetic ball control.[72] A few of the players worked on the boats, the Geneva May, and the Annabella, fishing the Taranaki coastline out of the port at Moturoa. Such was the ability of the Magyars, if they had landed in a soccer playing country most would have been professional players. Said by witnesses to have enough talent to make a ball talk, all three men would represent Taranaki and also play for invitational side, Continental of New Plymouth.

While together at Moturoa FC the Hungarians won the NZFA Brown Shield one of the oldest sporting awards in the world, the Chatham Cup – Taranaki Final, Julian Cup – TFA Championship, the TFA Duff Rose Bowl, the City of New Plymouth Trophy and the Kawerau Town pre-season title, also making it to the 1960 Chatham Cup – North Island Final.[4] One by one each player transferred to Wellington-based Hungaria. Considered by many to have been one of New Zealand best ever sides and one of the countries first glamour clubs.[70][73]

Polyanszky transferred to North Shore United after being scouted playing for Moturoa at Blandford Park, Auckland. In 1961 Polyanszky played in the Chatham Cup final for the Shore. Also in 1961, he played in the Ken Armstrong captained, Auckland representative side against an England FA XI playing their last tour match in New Zealand. The FA XI had future 1966 World Cup Final winner and England captain Bobby Moore in the side. England FA XI captain Tom Finney scored four and Bobby Brown scored two in an 8–0 thumping in front of 8000 spectators.[74] Polyanszky then played for Hungaria, before playing in New Caledonia, then to St George-Budapest of Sydney, Australia. He returned to New Zealand in 1966 after Wellington club Petone FC paid an £80 transfer fee to St. George.[75] Lotsy Polyanszky is often described as one of the most skilful ball players ever to play in New Zealand.[76] Polyanszky returned to Hungaria becoming player/coach in the late 1960s.

Hungaria joined the inaugural 1970 National League after upsetting North Shore United to qualify.[77][78] It was the Hungaria's only season in the National League, the club then formed a composite team with rivals Miramar Rangers as Wellington City in 1971.[79] In 1972 Hungaria went solo. At the end of the 1972 season Hungaria played Moturoa in the Central League qualifiers in Wanganui. Meeting again in 1973, this time in Division Two of the Central League, finishing second, to Moturoa United. Moturoa drew with Hungaria at Western Park 1–1, and lost away in Wellington 2–1 in the years fixtures, the close competition between the two teams shown in the almost equal statistics.[80] Moturoa were promoted to Division One for the 1974 season as champions. Hungaria, as runners up had to wait another year in Division Two. The two clubs crossed over in 1975 with Moturoa being relegated back to Division Two and a promoted Hungaria taking their place in Division One.[81]

Chatham Cup[edit]


Moturoa Football Club has competed for the Chatham Cup since 1949.[82]

Moturoa were beaten 6–1 at New Plymouth's Western Park by the Manawatu's Ohakea in 1949. Ohakea would then be knocked out by Wellington second division side Petone FC. The Press Association in Wellington, under the headline "Imported Talent In Chatham Cup Competition", said of the North Island semi-final between Petone and Ohakea, "it will to some extent be a match between Association football home teams away from home. The Ohakea team will comprise five Englishmen, four Scotsmen, two Irishmen and one Welshman. The match will probably provide a precedent insofar as both teams will take the field without a single New Zealand-born player."[83] Petone went on to win the cup final.

In the 1950 Chatham Cup, Moturoa were once again drawn against the Ohakea side, this time away in the Manawatu. Moturoa went down by one goal in a high scoring match 5–4.

The Moturoa club shirt colour from this time was dark blue and white quarters with white/black shorts and black socks, resembling that of the 1940s Bristol Rovers F.C. kit style.[84]

The Moturoa club secretary in 1949/50/51 was goal-keeper Mr. W. Ramsdale who lived at Young Street, New Plymouth. The Overseas Football Club emerged in New Plymouth this year, with Mr. R. Wilmhurst from the mid 1940s Moturoa team as its secretary. Overseas would play in all orange. Other clubs existing in Taranaki from this time would be City who played in green and white stripes, Old Boys in white, Stratford in red and black stripes, Inglewood in maroon, Hawera in dark blue, the New Plymouth Boys High School in black and white stripes, and Albion in red and white quarters.

In 1951 the Moturoa AFC went into recess. Partially triggered from the effects of the waterfront dispute of this year felt on the Moturoa community. Mr. W. Ramsdale joined Old Boys.

The Albion Football Club would play its last few games. Formed in 1912 in New Plymouth the club won every trophy in Taranaki but the Chinese Cup, with its best season in 1932 when it won the treble; the Julian Cup, the Duff Rose Bowl, and the Priest Shield.

Old Boys' won the Taranaki championship, with City as runners-up. Stratford AFC won the B-division with the High School first XI runners-up.[85]

1952: Overseas FC won the Taranaki Championship lifting the Julian Cup and enter the Chatham Cup. Drawn against the Settlers from Wanganui, the tie was replayed after the first match at Western Park was abandoned after the 75' with the Settlers ahead 2–0. The second game at Cooks Garden ended 3–3 with the match then decided on a coin toss won by the New Settlers.

1953: Overseas play in the Taranaki final of the Chatham Cup against City losing 5–2 at Western Park. City play Wanganui Settlers in the next round at Cooks Garden resulting in a 4–4 draw being decided 3–2 on corners with the Settlers once again going through. Overseas FC disbanded at the end of this season and its players join Moturoa.

In 1954 Moturoa AFC comes out of recess with a new shirt colour of red, with white shorts and red and black/red and white hooped socks. Life member Mr. Hans Halder began his first of 25 years as MAFC President. Mr. Herbert Hutton, life-member and first team player from 1945 to 1965, would resume the role of MAFC Secretary continuing until stepping down in 1972. The Moturoa FC goal-keeper at the time was George "Hollywood" Thompson.

In the 1954 Chatham Cup Moturoa defeated Wanganui New Settlers 1–0, followed by a 4–2 victory against Palmerston North End. The next match was a home draw at Western Park, the North Island Quarter Final, in which Moturoa were soundly beaten 3–0 by the current Wellington champion Stop Out. Stop Out, one of the countries top sides of the time, would win the 1956 Chatham Cup

In 1955 Kiwi United knock Taranaki qualifiers, Old Boys' out in early 5–2 August.

Moturoa won the 1956 Taranaki Championship lifting the Julian Cup for the first time.

In the 1956 Chatham Cup, Moturoa beat the Wanganui New Settlers at Western Park 5–3, after being drawn 2 goals each at full-time, with goals from Theo Verbeet (2), J. Gardiner (2), and Hans Speck.[86] In the next round Moturoa travelled to South Park, Masterton. Masterton Athletic had knocked out Kiwi United at Palmerston North and Napier Athletic at home to reach the cup tie. Moturoa scored twice late but went down 3 - 6 to a Masterton Athletic side that would draw Stop Out in the next round, losing 3 - 7 at Masterton. Stop Out would then beat Eastern Suburbs in the Island final and Shamrock in the final to become champions.[87]

Ted Meuli[88] begins to play for the club throughout this time after spending his prior years with New Plymouth rivals, Old Boys' and the Victoria University side.[89]

1957: An away game for Moturoa at Cooks Garden against the Wanganui Settlers was lost 4–2.

1958: Stratford AFC qualified as Taranaki preliminary winners, and then were knocked out by Kiwi United 3–2 at Western Park, New Plymouth.

Image of two player's one from Taranaki and one from Australia in a tackle for the ball. From the match played at apukekura Park, New aplymouth in August 1958.
Taranaki V Australia 19 August 1958 Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

On 19 August 1958, a Taranaki Combined side played Australia B at Pukekura Park in front of 7000 spectators. Australia, managed by Mr. Harold Barwick, were on a ten-game tour of New Zealand, coming off a five match series with Blackpool F.C.earlier in the year. "The visitors dribbled and swerved their way to a well-deserved 8 - 1 win. Both teams played good football but the Australians had far more understanding and cohesion. The Taranaki defence worked hard during the game and came out well at the end. Had it not been for them the score might of reached astronomical proportions. As a match it was a little one-sided, but as an exhibition of football it was worth watching," were the words of the Photo News reporter at the match. In the Taranaki side were; B. Vennik, J. Half, W. Pye, D. Evans, I. McMillan, J. Hurn, G. Nicholson, W. Beech, R. Griffin, G. Bellchambers and E. Meuli. The Australian side included; William Firkins, Harry Murdoch, Kevin O'Neill, Gordon Nunn, Bob Wemyss, Jack Mather, Norm Rule, Emmanuel Vella, Spencer Kitching, Frank Loughran and Bruce Morrow. Griffin for Taranaki scored in the 13', then Australia settled with Loughran scoring a hat-trick including a penalty. Kitching scored in the 44', Nunn the 49', and Morrow in the 88'. The referee was Mr. A.V. Cooper.

1959: Moturoa beat Stratford at Western Park 4–1, starting one of the best cup runs in the club's history. In the next round Wanganui Athletic were beaten 3–1 at Cooks Gardens. In the next round Napier Athletic travelled across to New Plymouth, Moturoa the only Taranaki team to have reached the North Island semi-finals of the Chatham Cup repeated their success by winning 6–0 at Western Park. The team comprised Les Humphries, Herbie Hutton, captain Alun Evans, goalkeeper Gerald Gregory, David Mayhead, Attila Varga, Gavin Collett, Ted Meuli, Les Woolcott, Hans Speck, Theo Verbeet, Ray Hutton and Johnnie Marshall. Moturoa would travel next to the North Island semi-final at the Basin Reserve in Wellington to play Miramar Rangers, going down 3–2.


The 1960 season is one of most successful in the club's history. Starting with the Kawerau Town pre-season tournament and ending with the club representing Taranaki and bringing home the Brown Shield for the first and only time[90] by defeating Poverty Bay in the final of the tournament.

Moturoa "completely dominated" the first round of the Chatham Cup 6–0 against the Settlers at Wanganui. The match was watched by one of the New Zealand national team selectors, Mr. A. Kidd. At half-time the score was 4–0. Lázsló Varga scored two "fine goals", right wing Rex Holmes scored twice, along with Attila Varga and Ted Meuli bagging one each. After the contest, Mr. Kidd was reported saying "there was indeed some promising material in the Moturoa side". The match report went on to state, "It was the first time this term Moturoa has really adopted itself to playing a full 90 minutes of football and for the first time too, movements which have failed to materialise in competition matches in the province were successful". Ken MacDonald, fresh off a hat-trick for the reserves at Waitara two days prior was said to have, "acquitted himself well at centre forward in the second spell".[91]

In the 1960 Chatham Cup North Island quarter-final, Manawatu's champion Kiwi United were beaten on their home patch at the Sportsground, Palmerston North. Kiwi United, the Manawatu FA's champion for the third consecutive year, had beaten Napier Athletic 6–0 in the previous round. Moturoa won by a single goal in a high scoring 4–3 result. In the North Island semi-final a crowd of more than a thousand saw a hard-fought tussle between two evenly balanced champion teams at Western Park. Northern the current Wellington champion, and soon to be Venus Shield winner, had beaten Railways 5–2 at the Basin Reserve before winning a two-leg Wellington Final against Seatoun 4–2 to advance to the away match in New Plymouth. Moturoa took a 2–0 lead into half-time, having to play hard in the second spell before scoring again. Northern scored their solitary goal in the dying minutes, the match ending 3–1. In the North Island Final, Moturoa travelled to Auckland to play North Shore United at Blandford Park. Many of the team travelled by bus to Auckland the day before the match, staying at a boarding hostel, the few remaining players, left in New Plymouth due to work commitments, flew to Auckland in the evening. The match at the legendary home of Auckland football ended in disaster, the score 10–2, Moturoa crashing out of the cup in one of the heaviest losses in the club's history. North Shore's captain was Ken Armstrong who had won the English first division with Chelsea in 1955. The roughly fifty year-old Blandford Park would be erased in the mid 1960s in the construction of a new motor-way leaving the fixture as the only time the Moturoa Football Club would play at the famous ground.

Image of Taranaki side lined up holding the Brown Shield after the match
Taranaki F.A.1960 Brown Shield winners

The 1960 Brown Shield results for Taranaki were; round one v Wanganui 6–1, round two v Manawatu 4–3, semi-final v Bay of Plenty 3–1 and the final v Poverty Bay 2–1.[92] The Poverty Bay side beaten by Taranaki in the Brown Shield[93] final were the FA Trophy[94] holders at the time having beaten Auckland to win it. The Taranaki Brown Shield winning team of 1960 consisted of the players, Gavin Collett, Attila Varga, Gerald Gregory (GK), Herb Hutton, Mike Fugett, Johnnie Marshall (captain), Lázsló Varga, Alun Evans, Lotsy Polyanszky and Theo Verbeet all from Moturoa AFC, along with T. Hawley and coach, Mr C. Wells. 

In 1961 Moturoa competed in the Northern Association for the Sportlife Trophy. The trophy presented by A. D. Organ Esq. for inter-club competition was first played for on 10 June between Eastern Union, Moturoa AFC, Eastern Suburbs AFC and Blockhouse Bay, and won by the Lilywhites after a one all draw with Blockhouse Bay in the final was decided by the toss of a coin. The tournament would run twice in 1961, the second time in mid-October when Mt Wellington AFC hosted the tournament. Moturoa and Huntly Thistle AFC were invited with Eastern Suburbs reserving the right to play the winner after returning the trophy. On the evening of the 21st, Moturoa were special guests of the Mt. Wellington AFC at the Panmure R.S.A. Club Hall for a social and dance.

In the 1961 Chatham Cup, Moturoa played City winning 4–0 at Western Park. In June, Wanganui Settlers were defeated 3–2 at the Oval in Wanganui. Moturoa travelled across to Napier facing Napier Rovers in the next round losing 4–0.

The New Zealand Minor Provinces selection played the visiting England FA XI captained by Sir Tom Finney, on 7 June 1961 at McLean Park, Napier.[95] The English side included many recent Olympians. Laurie Brown & Michael Greenwood would play in the match. Finney and Bobby Brown both scored hat-tricks, Johnny Fantham and Jim Lewis bagged two each. Bobby Moore was in the touring side among Alan A'Court, Ray Charnley, Hugh Lindsay, Fred Else, Grenville Hair, Graham Shaw and Colin Appleton, George Hannah, Mike Pinner, Gerry Summers, Bryan Thurlow. Moturoa's Johnnie Marshall originally from Fulham, Manawatu's Hungarian striker Andre Polyanszky, Waikato's Arthur Leong from Guangzhou, China, with fellow New Zealand representative, Eastern Union' Bert Ormond, who had played over 50 matches for Falkirk F.C. in Scotland took the field, along with Northern Ireland's Linfield F.C. product, Northern player and New Zealand representative Jim Bell, Wanganui's Bellchambers, goalkeeper Ron Leaky from the great Poverty Bay side, Henderson, Eyles, McGhee, Bell, Stewart and reserves; Webber, McMillan and W. Clark. The Minor Provinces team would see a 4–0 halftime scoreline blow-out to a massive 13–0. Not one of the Minor Provinces players in the match was born in New Zealand. The match played in front of 6000 spectators was the third in five days for the English and their fourth in New Zealand.[96] Ray Charnley, Blackpool F.C. and both Graham and Joe Shaw from Sheffield United F.C. toured New Zealand again with their respective sides in 1965 to play for the B.O.A.C trophy.[97]

One of Moturoa AFC's best cup performances came in 1962, winning four home games at Western Park before travelling to the Waikato after reaching the North Island Chatham Cup final for the second time in three years. In the Taranaki preliminary final Moturoa had beaten New Plymouth Old Boys 1–0. In the first round Wanganui Athletic were defeated 1–0. In the second round St. Andrews were beaten 6–1. A quarter final with Seatoun AFC was won 3–1, leading to a semi-final against Hamilton Technical Old Boys. Technical Old Boys won 4–0 in a match played before about 2000 people at Seddon Park becoming the first North Island club outside of Auckland or Wellington to qualify for the final. Which spoke volumes for Moturoa, not only because they faced a Hamilton team with three New Zealand internationals, but Technical proceeded to beat Otago's Northern – who had won the 1961 cup, 4–1 in the final.[98]

The 1963 Chatham Cup for Moturoa concluded with St. Andrews being beaten 5–2 at Western Park before a trip to Wembley Park for the quarter-final against Wanganui United in a game full of incidents and minor injuries. The score was locked 3–3 at full-time, in the first spell of extra-time Wanganui struck three times. The fitness of the United side aided by the sound forward line, proved the trump card. Both teams had taken a long time to settle down, Laci Varga had tested the Wanganui goal-keeper Mick Remfrey with a fine shot early but Remfrey put the ball over the crossbar. Toyne opened the scoring for Wanganui before inside-left Ken McDonald capitalised on slow clearing to send in an equaliser. Moturoa then took the lead after Varga centred to J. McManus who hit a first-timer past Remfrey with the ball striking the cross-bar and hitting the ground, the referee Mr. Seddon awarding the goal. Moturoa began to dictate the play until Toyne beat Moturoa goal-keeper W. Gilliat with a corner shot to make it 2–2 at half-time. After the break Webber scored again for Wanganui, the score 3–2, until United's Ram thinking he had heard the whistle picked the ball up, from the resulting free-kick Moturoa gained a corner and from the resultant melee scored. In the closing stages of the second half Toyne hit the post three times for Wanganui. Olding and Webber scored the goals for United in extra-time, with an own goal to Moturoa's advantage. By this stage both teams were affected by injuries, Moturoa losing Varga with 10' to go. The final score 6–4. Wanganui United entered the semi-final against the winner of the Wellington section, Marist, that match at the Basin Reserve in July finishing 3–1 to Marist.[99]

In 1964 the club changes the playing kit colour to white shirts, red shorts and white socks. Mr. Les Woolcott becomes Moturoa AFC club chairman. Wanganui United were the opponent this time at Western Park. Almost the same thing happened as the season before only this time Moturoa started like champions and scored two goals within minutes, but after a change the Moturoa forward line were completely mastered by a virile and fast United defence. Playing far below their standard Moturoa held on to full-time though it was a case of how soon United could score the goals to win, it transpired that at full-time the two teams had scored two goals each. In extra-time United scored four more goals, the 6–2 defeat ended the cup for Moturoa. Goal-keeper Bob Dykes was said to have "played brilliantly" for Moturoa saving many almost certainties and Laci Varga "the tower of strength" for Moturoa saving the situation time and time again.[100]

In the 1965 Chatham Cup, Moturoa were beaten in the 3rd round in an upset 3–2 at Waitara. Waitara had beaten a tenacious Spotswood, while Moturoa had overcome Old Boys 3–1. Waitara scored three goals in the first quarter of an hour against Spotswood, taking the lead into half-time before Spotswood staging a come-back took the game to 4–4, in extra time Spotswood scored first before Waitara scored twice, running out winners 6–5.[101] Waitara would continue on and defeat Wanganui United 3–1 in the fourth round at Wanganui, before departing the competition in round five with a 2–0 loss at Western Park to Hawkes Bay's champion Napier Rovers. Rovers had beaten Shamrock, Napier HSOB, Hastings United and Palmerston North Thistle before meeting the Taranaki's northernmost club coined the "Giant Killers" in the September's New Plymouth Photo News. In the 1965 Queens Birthday 7-a-side tournament for the Borrie Skilton Cup, Moturoa B lost the final against Spotswood 4–0. Spotswood also won the Acheson Cup as 1965 TFA Division Two champions. Future Taranaki United striker Rod Grant played for the champion 1965 Spotswood side.[101]

In 1966 Moturoa AFC began wearing the full red playing kit for the first time. Long sleeve shirts, with modern cut shorts in the new synthetic fabrics of the time. In round two of the Chatham Cup, Waitara were beaten 6–3. In round three New Plymouth United were beaten 6–0. The next match was between Moturoa and Masterton Athletic. At the end of full-time the scores were 2–2, with fading light and in the final minutes of extra-time, Moturoa notched three more goals for a 5–2 victory, Masterton's keeper W. Welsh was Athletic's saviour in the game saving a penalty and a continuous barrage of shots, courtesy of the Moturoa forwards.[102] In round five Napier Rovers were beaten 4–2. In a replay of the 1959 Chatham Cup Quarter-Final, Moturoa were stopped by eventual winners of the 1966 Chatham Cup, Miramar Rangers.[103] Its side featuring the country's leading goalkeeper at the time Peter Whiting. Rangers on this occasion travelling to New Plymouth's Western Park winning the tie 3–0. The first half was said to be "one of the best games seen at Western Park in years", Moturoa's John Borrell, Fin McDonald and Dave Grady playing well. Moturoa's goal-keeper Ken Dalton was kept busy all afternoon with Miramar mounting one attack after another.[104]

Match photo of Moturoa V New Plymouth United at Western Park in 1967.
1967 Taranaki Chatham Cup Final. Moturoa V United

1967: Old Boys were beaten 3–0 in round one, New Plymouth United who had beaten Waitara 3–0 in the first round were beaten 6–3 in round two. In round three, Moturoa took a drubbing from Napier Rovers[105] 6–2 at Napier.

1968: In round three Moturoa beat Old Boys 4–2. Round four becomes the first meeting between clubs Moturoa AFC and Western Suburbs FC. Wests won the match 4–2 at New Plymouth. Later in the season Taranaki played Fiji. The Taranaki team included Donald Harris, Mark Mana, Scotsman Jimmy Clark, Johnny Marshall, Ted Meuli and reserve Dave Grady from Moturoa, Inglewood's Bob Klouwens formerly from Stratford AFC & goal-keeper Richard Stephens, United's Ken McDonald & Jim Law along with reserves P. Springer and M. Berry, Hawera's Colin Burrows and Dave Marrison with reserve J. Gardiner from City. On the Fijian side was Satish Datta who had played for Moturoa in the Central Districts Premier Division in 1967. The Fijian team, its players from the Lautoka, Ba and Rewa clubs, won the game 5–4 in front of 1200 spectators at Pukekura Park.

1969: New Plymouth United are beaten 7–0. In round three Old Boys and Moturoa play out a 1 all draw. The match decided by corners and awarded to Moturoa. In round four Moturoa beat Wanganui Athletic 3–1 at Wanganui. Round five results in a 4–2 loss away to Palmerston City.


1970: A 2–0 loss to Old Boys ends this years Chatham Cup. Moturoa won the 1970 Duff Rose Bowl.

1971 Chatham Cup, round three, a 5–1 win versus NP United. In round four another drawn match against Old Boys, 1 all, won on corners by Moturoa. In round five 1970 finalists Western Suburbs FC knocked Moturoa out of the cup 7–1 at Western Park and go on to the Chatham Cup title. The match was the first visit of a National League club to the province since the league's inception. Five of the six Suburbs players selected in the Wellington squad to play Wales within the next fortnight travelled to New Plymouth. The Suburbs team included Andy Polyanszky, brother of Lotsy Polyanszky from the champion 1960 Moturoa team, and future Moturoa coach John Connor. Never afraid to attack, Moturoa lined up in a 2–5–3 formation with goal-keeper J.McCarthy, D. Harris, M. Mana and J.Hope the defensive line, J. Marshall and J. Collett as defensive midfielders and R. Paul, T. Horsman, E. Ted Meuli, K. Parkes and S. Brown leading the attack.

1972: Moturoa beat Spotswood United 8–0 in round two and Old Boys 4–1 in round three. The heavy loss inflicted by Western Suburbs the previous season was avenged in the 1972 Chatham Cup with Moturoa, captained by D. Harris, staging an upset by knocking out Suburbs, the holders out of the Chatham Cup, with a fourth round 1–0 win. An early goal from Moturoa's Archie Smith coupled with a tenacious defensive effort sealed the win. Gisborne City were drawn at home in round five, Western League club Moturoa failed to find the back of the net against the mid-table National League side with four goals the difference.

1973: Moturoa United lose 2–0 to Old Boys in the Chatham Cup, the resources spread on a travelling Western League team, Central League team.

1974: New Plymouth City were beaten 3–0 in round two. Stratford AFC were beaten 4–1 in round three. In round four Porirua United beat Moturoa 2–1 at New Plymouth.

1975: Moturoa United were beaten by Central City in round two of Chatham Cup. Moturoa B won the 1975 Duff Rose Bowl final against Central after extra-time with 10 men after striker Brian Dick was sent off mid-way through the second half. A goal by Central in the first period of extra time seemed to put the match beyond doubt until striker Jeff Collett capped a Moturoa fightback with the equaliser and then the winner. The newspaper's report stated regarding Collett, "whenever he was given the ball with room to move he was dangerous" followed by "It's a pity his class has not been utilised by Taranaki United in the Central League".[106]

1976: The formation of the Taranaki Football Company produces the composite team Taranaki United. The team would play in the Central League third division and also enter the Chatham Cup. In round one Moturoa AFC, a partner in the Taranaki Football Company, take a heavy 6–0 loss against the Taranaki United team.

1977: A round one fixture for Moturoa AFC against Opunake ends in a 2–2 stalemate. Penalties decide the tie with Opunake taking the honours in an upset, 3–1.

1978: 5–0 victories, versus Waitara in round one and over Central City in round two. Round three Taranaki United were drawn and the tie was lost 3–0.

1979: In a boil over, Moturoa defeated Taranaki United 4–2 in the first round, sending the local Central League side out of the competition. In round two, the first, and so far only Chatham Cup fixture between Eltham AFC and Moturoa results in a 2–3 upset result in favour of the 'Galaxy'. Eltham had returned to local football in 1974, reforming after a lengthy hiatus away from the code, with men's and women's sides assembling at the Tayler Street Ground. Eltham AFC won the 1906 Taranaki Championship and Julian Cup while playing at Taumata Park with the town the base for the Taranaki Football Association for a number of years prior to the First World War.

The Onuku Taipari Domain officially becomes new home for the Moturoa AFC with a new clubrooms built by volunteers and supporters next to the pre-existing Spotswood Residents Hall and Scout Club on Ngamotu Road.


1982: Moturoa AFC amalgamate with Spotswood AFC. At the annual general meeting of the Spotswood AFC in February 1982 at the college music suite the outgoing committee recommended the amalgamation to encompass the junior players from Devon Primary, Devon Intermediate School and Spotswood College under one flag. The Spotswood AFC provided a guiding brief through a controller to each school.

At the Opunake Annual 7-a-side tournament in 1982 Moturoa entered three teams. Moturoa C would win group IV ahead of Barnstoneworth United with Moturoa B in sixth, Moturoa A would come second to Stop Out in group V. The final was won by Old Boys with a single goal against New Plymouth United. The Central City Panthers won the women's final against Old Boys.[107]

AFC Bournemouth toured New Zealand and in early June played a Taranaki Invitation XI at Pukekura Park in front of 750 spectators in blustery weather and slippery conditions. At the time of the tour AFC Bournemouth had just won promotion to Football League Third Division. The AFC Bournemouth team included; Ian Leigh, John Impey, Brian Mundee, Chris Sulley, Milton Graham, Nigel Spackman, Keith Williams, Howard Goddard and Derek Dawkins. Injuries would see Bournemouth's coach Harry Redknapp and manager David Webb take the field for the English side playing its seventh game in fifteen days around the North Island. AFC Bournemouth, who scored 27 goals on the tour, had conceded only two before the match in New Plymouth, one against the Franklin County XI from Frank Verheyen and the other against Napier City Rovers scored by Graeme Hill. On Bournemouth's team list were also Brian O'Donnell, Andy Crawford, Richard Donovan, Tommy Heffernan, Phil Brignull and keeper Kenny Allen. Taranaki, playing in a gold coloured strip, won the match 2–1. It would be the only loss the Cherries would experience on their eight match national tour. Coached by Don Harris and assistant Chris MacIntosh, the Taranaki XI included captain Barry Cooper, Dan Hook and Wayne Gould from Moturoa-Spotswood AFC, keeper Hugh Davidson and Peter Burmester from Old Boys, Hawera's Peter Bodnar, City's Peter Dolan, Taranaki United's John Russell, Steve Lazarus, Schane Manley, Mick Mayhew and reserve keeper Wayne Martin with two guest players from Manurewa AFC, Kevin Birch and Mark Donaghue.

In the first half of the match in New Plymouth, Bournemouth had the better of the territory but the Taranaki side defended well and keeper Davidson dealt competently with the deep crosses that Bournemouth sent over. In the 27th minute Mayhew, playing as a left sided striker, won the ball and sent it through to Mark Donaghue who ran free of the Bournemouth defence, drew keeper Leigh and scored. Early in the second half, being a goal down, Bournemouth began to exert pressure on the Taranaki defence but its speed and ability to retain possession and switch play quickly had met its match against Lazarus, Hook, Cooper and Burmester. Redknapp was doing a great deal of probing down the right-flank and the visitors missed a good opportunity to level the scores when Goddard shot over the top with only Davidson to beat. In the 69th minute a Redknapp/Goddard move saw a through ball judged to perfection for Sulley to level the scores. There was now plenty of action for Davidson who impressed with his clean handling of the ball but had a slice of luck when he tipped a Mundee shot on to the bar which then rebounded between two Bournemouth forwards following up. Taranaki's second came in the 75th minute when a fine move out of defence saw Manley push the ball through to Birch. His shot was parried by the keeper, but Mark Donoghue following up, hit the winner home. Manley and Bodnar were replaced with John Russell and Wayne Gould not long after the goal. Russell and Gould had started playing as juniors at Moturoa in the 1970s. Later the press would excuse an AFC Bournemouth side looking tired at the end, "Possibly a hurried tour of New Zealand at the end of a demanding English season had taken its toll," in the Taranaki Herald. The Taranaki side's victory was said to be "attained through total concentration, some skill, honest guts and some good luck." by the Herald.

1980 to 1984: Moturoa did not enter the Chatham Cup.

1985: A 3–1 round one victory at home against Wanganui City. In round two Palmerton North End were drawn away and had the fortune to see Moturoa lose their keeper early on and yet only concede defeat after extra-time, the result 3–1.

1986: Moturoa play Woodleigh Cosmos in round two at Onuku Taipari with 7–0 the score. In round three Masterton were drawn away, the result a 2–0 loss.

1987: In round two Wanganui East Athletic were beaten 3–2. In round three Wellington's Stokes Valley were beaten at home in the capital with a comprehensive 3–0 victory for Moturoa AFC. In round five National League club Napier City Rovers hosted at Onuku Taipari Domain, the match resulting in a 5–1 loss for Moturoa.

1988: Levin United are well beaten in round two at Moturoa 4–1. In round three the Hawkes Bay's Taradale host Moturoa and win the match 3–0.

1989: Massey University travel to New Plymouth and snatch a 2–1 victory ending Moturoa City's challenge.


1990: Did not enter.

1991: Woodleigh Cosmos were beaten 1–0 at home. Lower Hutt City from a division higher in the Central League, were drawn in round two with a 5–1 loss ending the cup for Moturoa.

1992: Did not enter.

1993: Red Sox were played at Palmerston North in round two, the 2–1 result ending another spell competing for the Chatham Cup. Moturoa AFC would not enter again until 1999.

1999: Wellington United were beaten at Newtown Park in a 4–3 round two upset. In round three Paraparaumu United visited Onuku Taipari Domain and left as winners 4–2.


2000: Red Sox Riverside were destroyed 5–0 at home in round two, leading to a match with Wellington's Waterside Karori. The capital city team, third place in the Capital Premier League in 2000, were sent from the competition, a 2–1 win for Moturoa setting up a fourth round tie against Island Bay United in Wellington. After 120 minutes of play and no score the match went to penalties with Island Bay taking it 4–3.

2001: Wainuiomata made the trip to New Plymouth for the round two match with Moturoa winning the game 2–1. In the away fixture in round three Wellington Olympic narrowly took the game 3–2.

2002: In the first Chatham Cup meeting between the two Taranaki clubs, Hawera FC were beaten 7–1 at New Plymouth. A replay from the third round of 1988 was drawn next with Moturoa again travelling to Taradale but this time returning victorious 3–1. Manawatu were met in round four with the National League team handing out a 6–1 drubbing in Palmerston North.

2003–2007 Did not enter

2008: Round one loss versus Valeron Wanderers 2–1.

2009: Byes in rounds one and two. In round three Taradale win 4–0.

2010: 2015 Did not enter

2016: First Chatham Cup match between Moturoa and New Plymouth Rangers results in a round two loss 2–0.

Central League[edit]


Moturoa AFC was invited to join the provincial leagues in 1962 after the formation of the No.2 Central Districts League to compete for the Elwood Cup.

Moturoa AFC won the Central Districts League in 1964, as Taranaki's representative. The same year the club won the 1964 Taranaki Championship and Julian Cup for the sixth consecutive year, completing a treble by also winning the 1964 Duff Rose Bowl. The 1964 Champion team included players; Mark Mana, Fin McDonald, Laci Varga, Hugh McLaughlin, Alun Evans, Royle Hutton, goalkeeper D. Oliver, Herbert Hutton, Ken McDonald, Dave Grady, John Hope, L. Wilson and Edward Meuli. Mike Fugett was the sides Captain with deputy, 'the Sheriff' Johnnie Marshall. The team coached by K. Heaysman with Leslie Woolcott as the Manager.

Moturoa formed a strong reserve team and in 1965 the second XI won the Taranaki FA Acheson Cup playing in the local second division. Spotswood AFC, the preliminary Acheson cup winner, and City were promoted to the first division after 5 matches, carrying their points with them. The Moturoa first XI won the first division with 12 matches played, 11 were won with a single defeat, 85 goals were scored and 15 conceded. Moturoa as Taranaki champions entered the Central Districts League in 1965. It was open to regional representative teams but Moturoa, Diamond and Athletic AFC (Wairarapa) entered as clubs against the Hawkes Bay, Wanganui and Manawatu regional teams. Diamond, Wellington's Venus Shield winner, won the title undefeated with Moturoa finishing fourth.

In 1966 the Central Districts League split into a Western League and a Nelson-Manawatu league. Moturoa played in the Western League for the Pearce Cup finishing third behind Thistle and Kiwi United. In the first match of the season Moturoa hosted Thistle at Western Park and played out a draw. The Taranaki Photo News, praised the fine goalkeeping of Moturoa custodian Ken Dalton, and the "very attractive football" between the teams, suggesting, "with a little more punch on the right Moturoa would become a real force to be reckoned with this season". The decision to not compete for the Julian Cup this season marked the end of a still unbroken record of seven consecutive Taranaki championships.

1967 – The Wanganui clubs oppose the entry of Eastern Union from the Eastern League to the Western League. All other clubs withdraw from the Western League and create the Central Districts League with two divisions. Moturoa competed in the Premier Division with Eastern Union, Manawatu/Thistle, Kiwi United, Napier Rovers, and St. Andrews FC. Stratford AFC competed in the Central Districts League first division with clubs Masterton Athletic, Lansdowne United, Taradale, Winchester, Massey University and the Horowhenua regional team, along with the Kiwi United, Manawatu Thistle and St. Andrews B teams.[108] Moturoa also competed in Taranaki-Wanganui League in 1967 winning undefeated, with Wanganui Athletic, Western Suburbs (Wanganui), New Plymouth United, Waitara, New Plymouth Old Boys and Wanganui United finishing in that order.[108]

Moturoa recruited Fijian international forward Satish Datta for the Central Districts Premier Division in 1967. Datta won the 1967 Chatham Cup – Taranaki Final with the club. Renowned for his burning speed and goal scoring instincts he was a feared striker during his era. Datta started his career with Ba club, Lightning FC in Fiji, playing up through the grades until moving to Suva F.C. in 1959. He was then selected for the Fiji national side to tour Australia in 1961. Datta amassed roughly 28 goals before a knee injury limited his game time during the fifteen match tour. In 1963 he won a silver medal with the Fiji team at the South Pacific Games. After playing for Moturoa, Datta returned to Fiji to captain Rewa FC in 1968. He then returned to New Zealand on tour with the Fiji national side later that same year. The Fijian side visited Pukekura Park during the tour to face a Taranaki XI, Datta scoring a goal helping Fiji secure the win.[109][110]

1968: The first official Central League begins. No Taranaki clubs compete. Moturoa has two teams in the local Taranaki division one league. Moturoa A go unbeaten and win the Julian Cup and the MBTC Cup knock-out.

In 1969 Moturoa win the Julian Cup and enter the play-offs for the Central League, qualifying after the reconstruction of the league for 1970 with Upper Hutt United, Napier City and Wanganui Athletic. Moturoa though does not take part, its place taken by the Christian Youth Football Club (CYFC Wellington).

The Pearce Cup for travelling reasons and expense in 1970 was reduced to the Wanganui/Manawatu associations and Taranaki clubs weren't invited to play. This arrangement lasted until 1972.


In 1971 Moturoa became an Incorporated Society and Sports Club enabling the club to widen its scope and include summer sport in the name of Moturoa. The other aspect of becoming an Incorporated Society was to enable negotiations with the City Council over the use of Marfell Park. The negotiations for Marfell Park were delayed and then abandoned when the council began re-dumping which was unforeseen when the council were first approached with regards to the club leasing the ground. Marfell Park became the home ground of the Spotswood Old Boys Rugby Club during the seventies and eighties with the club building a clubrooms at the site. Moturoa placed first and second in the 1971 Taranaki First Division. Moturoa placed second to Douglas Villa in the Central League playoffs. Two wins and three drawn matches against Central League teams Wanganui City and Johnson-Villa, along with regional champions Wellington's Brooklyn United and the Hawkes Bay's Napier City not resulting in sufficient points for promotion, even with a fairly decent strike rate of 18 goals in 5 matches and finishing undefeated. A pair of Moturoa AFC junior sides administered by Joe Davies and Les Woolcott travelled to Auckland at the end of the 1971 season and beat two Courier Rangers AFC sides.

In the 1972 pre-season, Moturoa faced Wellington's Waterside in the first round of the Hilton-Petone Cup Competition at the Camp Reserve in Waitara. The ground was originally the Pukekohe pa site, then called Gore Browne redoubt and known by many today, as the Camp Reserve or Pukekohe Domain.[111] Once the home of the Clifton Rugby Club and Waitara AFC, the ground was developed by many other sports including cycling, athletics and cricket starting in the mid 1800s. The main field at Pukekohe Domain today lies dormant with lawn bowls, tennis and squash the only clubs remaining. The ground housed a large wooden grandstand, clubrooms and top railed, manicured pitch when Moturoa hosted Waterside at Waitara for the 1972 Hilton-Petone Cup. The Petone Football Club had originally introduced the Hilton-Petone Tournament with the original purpose of lengthening the football season in Wellington.

The headline in the Taranaki Herald referring to the match as, "Champagne Soccer" with Avalon Wine and Spirits set to award a bottle of wine for every goal scored. The Herald's correspondent, Graham Sheath, before the match gave the advantage to the Waterside club, which had played three qualifying rounds, while Moturoa had only a few games against ships' teams. At the prior season's end Waterside, the Central League division one champion, were denied a place in the 1972 National League by play-off winner New Brighton. The Moturoa squad for the cup match comprised goal-keepers John Crocker and former Wanganui Athletic keeper Paul Barrett, in the defence the experienced John Hope, Mark Mana, and Don Harris were to choose from, the linkmen would come from Selwyn Brown, Jeff Collett, Alan Burbidge and Peter Wisnewski who had transferred from Stratford AFC, strike-power to select from included Robbie Paul, Ken Parkes, Tony Bromfield, Ted Meuli and newcomer to the squad Brian Fletcher from the Bay of Plenty. Collett, Paul and Wisnewski were members of the very successful Taranaki under-18 team. New Zealand representative and National League champion, Eastern Suburbs Peter Eliadis, on loan to Moturoa, took the role of sweeper for the match. Eliadis, prior to arriving in New Plymouth had played for Ashford Town in the southern league in England, before moving to Waitara and playing for Old Boys in 1970. His sole international was a non-cap match in 1971 between Wales and New Zealand at Auckland. Eliadis' contract with the Lilywhites would see him flown from New Plymouth to Auckland to play for the club in the National League for the 1971 and 1972 seasons. Eliadis would join Moturoa United as player-coach in 1973. The match ended with Moturoa victorious. Tony Bromfield driving the first goal of the match into the back of the net from a Robbie Paul cross, followed by an equaliser five minutes later by Imre Kiss. Moturoa took the lead before half-time with a penalty by Peter Eliadis. The Reds kept Waterside pinned in its own half until the visitor's launched several attacks in the last quarter, a solid defence and the goalkeeping of Barrett kept the score at 2–1. The Herald reported Moturoa had "outplayed" Waterside, having the better of the highly favoured Central League division one champion. The quarter-final of the Hilton-Petone Cup saw Moturoa scheduled to face National League side Gisborne City the following Sunday at Wellington, with the East Coast side including past Moturoa striker Fin McDonald. Gisborne City would take the match on 19 March 2 - 0, and face the National League side Wellington City in the semi-final, losing 4 - 1 to the eventual 1972 winners of the cup. 1972 remains the sole year Moturoa A.F.C entered the Hilton-Petone Cup.

Moturoa entered into the reformed 1972 Western League competition to play for the Presidents Cup. They finished top of the table with the same number of points as Kiwi United but lost on goal difference.

In mid-season 1972 a Moturoa XI played Wellington College in a friendly at the Webster Field with the match ending in draw. The match played a day after the New Plymouth Boys High v Wellington College traditional at the same ground.[112]

The first discussions about a Moturoa – Old Boys merger surfaced with talk in the media but amounted to nothing.

Moturoa qualified for the Central League play-offs, which began and finished with a said, "dark cloud" over them. Moturoa was drawn to face Hungaria in the first series of games at Wanganui, but it was the North Wellington United team that took the field. An 11th hour decision by the NZFA had stopped Hungaria from taking part. The NZFA had upheld an appeal by the North Wellington United club regarding Hungaria's eligibility in competing in the play-offs although it had the backing of the Wellington FA. There was confusion in the Wanganui FA as to both Wellington team's being allowed to compete which was not in-line with the play-off rules. The NZFA, Central League committee and Wellington FA met to resolve the dispute. In the meantime Moturoa beat North Wellington 3–1 with Archie Smith scoring a hat-trick, and Masterton United 4–0 with right-winger Robbie Paul, mid-fielders Jeff Collett, Peter Wisnewski and fullbacks Don Harris and Malcom Ward said to have been "outstanding" by the Taranaki Herald correspondent, Sheath.[113] The next round saw Hungaria join the play-offs in the quest for promotion after the dispute was settled, winning their first three matches. Moturoa faced Hungaria winning 3–1, a day later the Reds suffered their first loss at the hands of Eastern League champion Napier City, going down 3–2. Moturoa, at the top of the table, were then disqualified in the final weekend for playing an alleged unregistered player. Wanganui Athletic retained their place in the Central League for 1973. Hungaria were also promoted from the play-offs after Napier City, who won the other promotion place, merged with the Central League's Napier Rovers to become Napier City Rovers, using the relegated Rovers position in division two. Moturoa won a pre-season play-off giving the club inclusion to the 1973 Central League.

At the Moturoa Association Football and Sports Club annual general meeting in 1973 a board of directors to run the affairs of the league teams was agreed upon with New Plymouth United AFC. The board would be separate from the committees of both clubs and would arrange the finance and management of both Moturoa's Central League team and United's Western League team. On 7 April 1973 the first match, an away game, in the Central League Division Two against home town rivals New Plymouth Old Boys' was played at Western Park resulting in a 3–1 win for Moturoa United. Moturoa's team list for the club's inaugural Central League fixture: Paul Barratt, Don Harris, Ray Powell, Colin Selfe, Selwyn Brown, Peter Eliadis, Peter Wisnewski, Kevin Bussey, John Hunt, Geoff Collett, Robert Paul, Paul Brennan (sub for R. Paul).[114] The last time Old Boys had beaten Moturoa was early back in 1971, since then Moturoa had been undefeated by the local sides. Old Boys' went 1-0 up after five minutes in what was expected to be an uncompromising game. Old Boys', Haughton left keeper Barratt standing with a 15-yard header from a Rod Grant corner. Peter Eliadis equalised 10 minutes later with a harmless looking, curling left foot shot that bounced into the corner of the net after a mistake by keeper Martin. After half-time Moturoa immediately pressed the Old Boys' polished short passing game which began to show flaws. Old Boys were made to pay for midfield laxity and didn't get back into the game until 10 minutes before the end. The deciding goals came in quick succession shortly after the restart. Wisnewski scored a 30-yard free-kick. Then Jeff Collett ran onto a through ball down the right, hitting the ball past Martin.[115]

Moturoa United won the 1973 Central League Division Two.[116] The team's away record resulting in only a single loss to current rival Hungaria, 2–1.In that match an experienced Hungaria had capitalised on Moturoa's defensive lapses. Moturoa played into the wind and sun at the Basin Reserve for the first half and midfielders Peter Eliadis and Peter Wisnewski contained a Hungaria including Istvan Nemet, Frank Furges, Julius Beck and the Polyanszky brothers. Five minutes before halftime in a scramble in front of the Moturoa United goal, keeper George Yearbury was beaten and Eliadis kicked the ball off the line but a linesman ruled the ball had gone over, which gave Hungaria the lead. Moturoa pressed hard through the midfield, but lacked finish. Hungaria then scored again. 15 minutes from time, Glenn Dods scored from a long angled shot and from then on it was all Moturoa United but they could not score again. The home record at Western Park was equally admirable with two losses to C.Y.F.C and new club Napier City Rovers by only a goal in each match. The loss against C.Y.F.C saw Moturoa, at the top of the table, humbled at home by the bottom place side from Wellington. The game started well with Wisnewski slamming in a penalty until a Greg Robertson double for the Christian Youth and the work of Alex Milne and keeper Stuart Ramage closed the game out. During and after the match, captain Eliadis pleaded with the public for support with the Taranaki newspapers reporting, "Anyone would think Moturoa was the biggest group of villains in the league, judging by the crowd reaction. the boos and silent treatment have been far too common this year, its not surprising that the club's home record is worse than its away one." Following with, "Too many people have let their prejudices caused by the once bitter conflict between Moturoa and its fellow city club rival New Plymouth Old Boys' rule their appreciation of good football." Douglas Villa were thrashed 7–2, and Lower Hutt City dispatched 4–0 at New Plymouth. New Plymouth Old Boys were beaten 3–1 at home, and 1–0 away. Moturoa scored 52 goals and conceded 21 goals in the 18 league matches.[114] For winning the 1973 second division Moturoa received $250 in prize money from the Central League, with $4000 the figure reported by the club Chairman in the news to run the team.

Future New Zealand international Glenn Dods made 18 first team appearances for Moturoa United in 1973 scoring 10 goals.[117] Initially playing for Fitzroy in 1967, then later the New Plymouth Boys High School, Dods moved to New Plymouth United in 1972. He would leave Moturoa United at the conclusion of the 1973 season as top goal scorer, reported by the Taranaki Herald to be "headed for England, trialing with Burnley and Wrexham" before returning to New Zealand and playing for Mt Wellington AFC in the National League.

Later in the 1973 season, a Taranaki selection hosted the New Zealand under- 21's on the Gully Ground at the New Plymouth Boys High School on 3 October. Mr. Barrie Truman in April had called Taranaki a 'backwater' for NZ Football and this was Taranaki's chance to make him 'eat his words' Taranaki newspaper reporter Brian Thomas wrote prior to the match. "It will be no easy task against a side composed almost entirely of National League players with two wins in the first two matches of its five-match internal tour", Thomas followed with. In contrast the combination of players in the Taranaki side were well known to each other, but from clubs who at the time had a well documented rivalry. After what reporter Thomas called "tremendous form", schoolboy George Yearbury, who had claimed the Moturoa United (MU) goal-keepers position during the season, was given the job between the sticks. A defensive line of vice-captain Don Harris and Tony Bromfield from MU, with Chris Haughton and Phil Gerrard from Old Boys' behind a solid midfield of Old Boys' Jim Heyder, captain Peter Eliadis from MU and Old Boys' Mike Eakins. Three strikers completed the starting side with Lex Caspersen and Rod Grant from Old Boys' and John Hunt from MU. The reserves chosen included Glen Dods, Bruce Hollins and Colin Selfe from MU and goalkeeper Wayne Martin from Old Boys'.

Mr. Harry Dods, the Moturoa United AFC management committee chairman, said in a statement at the end of the 1973 season to the Taranaki Herald that all legal processes were completed to register a new club under the name of the New Plymouth Association Football Club, with the Companies Office approving the name. The full merger of Moturoa AFC and New Plymouth United to adopt the new club identity was agreed by the Moturoa committee, however New Plymouth United eventually decided to continue as a club in its own right, but leaving lines open for further co-operation in areas of mutual benefit. A delegation from the Moturoa United board then met the steering committee of the proposed New Plymouth City club, however a basic difference in concepts moving forward quickly evolved. The New Plymouth Association Football Club name, originally used in 1904 and last used in 1926 would be resigned to history. Dods was soon elected to the NZFA nine-man national executive at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Football Association at Wellington in 1974 leaving the club to take up the position. A player and administrator in Wanganui for ten years before his eight years in Taranaki, Dods coached the 1967 Malayan Shield winning Fitzroy junior side, and also made a single first team appearance as a substitute for Moturoa United in the Central League in 1973,[114] leaving Taranaki football as a life-member of the New Plymouth United Football Club. After moving to Auckland he was employed by the Auckland FA. Dods became the CEO of New Zealand's successful 1982 World Cup campaign and later chairman of the Auckland FA and NZFA. Harry Dods was awarded life membership of the Auckland Football Federation, Auckland Football Association and Auckland Junior FA.[118]

In the pre-season in 1974 a scheme adopted by FC Utrecht in 1970 and dubbed the "Utrecht" plan at a special meeting at New Plymouth was proposed and accepted in principle by the Old Boys and Central clubs, a special invitation to attend was accepted by the Moturoa United executive with players from the club also at the meeting. The new club would use the Central League Division One position held by Moturoa United with the aim of quickly reaching National League status if an agreement between the three clubs was forthcoming. Moturoa United decided to opt out of the plan. In May, 1974 the New Plymouth City Association Football Club emerged. Other clubs could join the new club upon payment of an affiliation fee which entitled the participating club to full board representation. The team took the place of New Plymouth Old Boys in Division Two of the Central League, finishing last and being relegated to Division Three for the 1975 season.[81]

Moturoa United, with Mike Fugett as manager would begin to play at New Plymouths' Lynmouth Park and also the Omata Road grounds in 1974 as part of the city council's ground allocation.

1974 would be the first time Moturoa would play a match in the South Island. After holding Nelson United to 0–0 until the 52nd minute in the Central League match, Moturoa would succumb with Julius Beck scoring in the 75th and D. Wilson scoring in the 82nd and 85th minutes for Nelson. Moturoa's goal-keeper George Yearbury made the New Zealand under-20s team for the Oceania under-20 tournament in Tahiti in December 1974.[119]

After relegation from the first division in 1974, the Taranald Herald reported on a 'We Shall Return' Policy being put in place at the club. The club management had accepted that the efforts in 1974 suffered from a lack of playing strength and, to a degree, of dedication to the job at hand. "The club as a whole faces a total rethinking of its attitude, with a need to co-operate with other teams – to show the soccer world that Taranaki is not one of the game's backwaters" reported the Herald. The new club policy involved producing one of the strongest sides to be seen in the province for years. Practical work preparing for the 1975 Air New Zealand Cup entry began in January, with sessions being conducted by player John Thompson, who had arrived from the north of England in 1974 with a list of clubs prior to departing the UK to his name, Newcastle United, Gatehead AFC, Durham City and Ashington AFC among others. Thompson had played one match for the Moturoa first XI at the end of 1974, and was said to be 'impressive' by those that saw him in action soon after signing a semi-professional contract with the club. The club management, encouraged by the attendance at the sessions, reported to the Herald, "their hopes of producing a strong and dedicated side are well on the way to being realised."[120] Another recent arrival from Newcastle was David Aldman, an outside right who had played for the Ashington and West Orient clubs. New striker Allan Blakelock had been on the books at Sunderland, before choosing a career in teaching and playing in the amateur leagues in London in 73/74, and now teaching at the NP Boy's High School. Aldman would play only a handful of times for the club in the Central League. Blakelock registered one Central League match in 1975, as did Thompson relinguishing the coaching position after the Air New Zealand Cup matches. The influx of new and experienced players was an attraction for leading players from other Taranaki clubs and a number joined including; Lex Casperson, Brian Tuck, Peter McCartney, Peter de Man, Chris Haunton, and Mike Eakins. Moturoa players selected by Thompson to form the top squad included core members; Powell, Paul, J. Gooch, P. Ritchie, and J. Collett. Don Armstrong would end up transferring to New Brighton AFC in 1975, returning to play for Taranaki United in 1976 leading a lethal front line with Rod Grant. Missing from the team in 1975 was goalkeeper George Yearbury who with former player Glen Dods had joined Mt. Wellington AFC in Auckland. Both had been in the New Zealand under-21 team in 1974. "This is one of the problems our clubs face, when we develop top players the major leagues draw them off." Mr. Hogan explained to the Herald. The coaching role of the Moturoa team was awarded to Fred Judge for the 1975 season after the departure of Thompson. Judge had come from Diss, near Norwich, England with a wide experience in football, including refereeing. A key figure of the club's new drive was President Mr. Hans Halder, in his 22nd year as president. The Herald suggesting, "Mr. Halder has been with the club since its 'shoe-string' days and must find it very pleasing now to see his club obtaining its own grounds and finance from the Ministry of Sport." The Western league side was virtually the same players as the year before and it was hoped the problems of having players spirited away to boost the travelling first team squad would be overcome. The team and club, said farewell to long serving club member Ted Meuli, Meuli moving away to take up a new teaching position. His place as Western league coach taken by the popular and respected Norm Ritchie. Ted Shotbolt was the Western league team Manager. Hugh McLaughlin was appointed as manager of all teams in the local competitions. The local sides had been neglected in the past and the club resolved to see that it didn't happen again. Brian Russell from the south of England joined as the new junior coach, with the junior team's first fixture of the season a trip to Auckland in an attempt take the annual challenge trophy from the Courier Rangers. The Moturoa AFC committee for the 1975 season was; Patron D. Paul; president, H. Halder; chairman, A. Hogan; secretary-treasurer, T. Wisnewski with board members N. Ritchie, D. Harris, S. Johnson, E. Hawke, H. Collett, F. Judge, H. McLaughlin, T. Shotbolt and L. Woolcott.

Sheffield United played a Taranaki Invitation XI at Rugby Park, New Plymouth in 1975. The Blades winning 5–0 in their second match of a three-match New Zealand tour. The South Islanders in Otago from the previous match had told the Blades manager, "Taranaki would probably be one of the easiest games of the tour." On arrival to New Plymouth Sheffield United were met with a throng of media, "The Blades Will Be Sharp" was one headline in the many from the papers when Sheffield United prepared the day before the match. The South Yorkshire team included six-cap England international Tony Currie who "nonchalantly" told a New Plymouth Daily News reporter of his estimated £400,000 worth to the club and wage of around £10,000/year after signing in 1968 for £26,000, with the paper calling him Sheffield United's 'Golden Boy' in its headline.[121] "Our players earn between £5000 to £6000 a year with bonuses on top of that..." Currie told the paper, "I'm hitting top form and will be doing everything to get back into the England side for the 1978 World Cup." Disruptions and riots by fans were a big worry to all English soccer players, The Daily News quizzed with Currie commenting, "It gets a bit nerve-racking especially when you play away games. Several times we have had our bus pelted by bricks by rival fans,.." Sheffield United manager Mr. Ken Furphy would later slate the Rugby Park ground saying he had offered to mow the grass himself, it being knee-deep, "We found it difficult to run between the tractor marks and the grass was too long, we play touch football but we could not play it on that field. It might be all right for the All Blacks..." he told the Taranaki Herald on 3 June. Despite the uneven surface, Sheffield scored five "sparkling" goals, three of them from outside the penalty area. "They never looked in the slightest of danger of being beaten and managed to string together some moves which showed signs of its acknowledged mastery," The Herald said of the Blades after the match. "Captain Peter McCartney, David Allman and Ray Powell performed to capacity, tackling tenaciously and running back to cover fast, Taranaki's goal-keeper Martin was in fine form and surprisingly the best defender was Lex Casperson, normally a striker, who showed that even professionals have a difficult time when tightly marked, also coming up field on two occasions," continued the match report. "If there was one fault in Taranaki's play it was that the Sheffield players were allowed too much reign just outside the penalty area, Peter Ritchie was the best of the Taranaki midfielders, distributing the ball well and looking for space. Hank Van Heckeren looked sharp until an unnecessarily late and aggressive tackle felled him only after 15 minutes." The player that was reported to have impressed Mr. Furphy the most was Wayne Huntley, the Taranaki forward stretching the Blades defence on several times with clever running. For Sheffield, Keith Eddy had the best game and his two goals were "as fine as you hope to see." The Dominion reported the match with Furphy calling it a farce and recorded as saying, "It's incredible really, here I was with over a million pounds worth of talent and I was being asked to put my players out in those conditions." The Taranaki invitation squad consisted of goal-keeper Wayne Martin, Ray Powell, Peter McCartney, David Allman, Robin Grey, Keith Capewell, Peter Ritchie, Hank Van Heckeren, Mike Johnston, Wayne Huntly, Rod Grant. Reserves; Phil Gerrard, Roger White, Lex Casperson, Robbie Paul, Mike Eakins, Barry Wilkinson, Brian Grieg and Alf Morley. Sheffield United put out a strong side in; Tom McAlister, Colin Franks, Terry Garbett, Keith Eddy, Steve Faulkner, Mick Speight, Alan Woodward, Keith Furphy, Chris Guthrie, Tony Currie, Tony Field, and David Bradford. Ken Furphy and Len Badger came on as substitutes. The scorers were; 15' Woodward, 35' Garbett, 75' Currie, 81' and 87' Eddy. An opportunity was missed by New Zealand football said Mr. Furphy on departure from the country, reported as being "disappointed that no effort had been made to match the team with Glasgow Rangers while the two clubs were in the country."

Future New Zealand international goalkeeper Frank van Hattum made 13 first team appearances for Moturoa in the Central League in 1975, also playing for the Moturoa U18 team in the National Cup after transferring to the Moturoa from Central City Football Club.[122]

Future club president Jim Donnelly joins Moturoa from Island Bay United in 1975.

The Moturoa 6th grade side, including J. Russell, T. Judge, M. Page, M. Hogan, T. McGreevy, T. Brons, D. Percy, R. Lyes, A. Percy, T. Katene, S. MacInnis, S. Molchanoff, coached by Les Woolcott, won the 1975 Taranaki Junior Football Championship undefeated. In fourteen games 96 goals were scored and 8 conceded.

The Moturoa under-18s side reached the semi-final of the 1975 Stars Travel National Cup. Life-member Ted Shotbolt's side had lost to 2–1 to Manurewa AFC in the 1974 quarter-final of the cup at Bell Block in atrocious conditions. Moturoa's 1975 U18's squad was virtually the same as 1974 team but more mature. Players included, captain Allan Beverwijk, John Judge from England who had played for Norfolk County and had been a West Ham trialist, Taranaki representatives, Frank van Hattum, Steven Davies, Bruce Hollins, John Krestschmar, Derek Shotbolt and Kevin Murphy with Paul Tooley, Kevin Brbich, Tony Brbich, Mark Collier, Peter Ritchie and reserve Paddy Mullin. Palmerston North Boys High School and Petone FC were beaten 4–1 in each case. Peter Ritchie would score the first goal against Petone in his farewell match. Ngongotaha AFC were then beaten 3–2 at Ngongotaha in the quarter-final with Moturoa's Brian Tuck (2), and Derek Shotbolt scoring the goals. The semi-final against Manurewa AFC was held at Western Park with Mr. Vennik the referee. A curtain raiser was played between the Combined (Stratford) and Moturoa Ladies. Manurewa chartered a plane flying in and out of New Plymouth on the match-day with around 60 supporters.[123] In the opposing semi-final Christchurch United slammed Rongotai College 5–1 at the Basin Reserve.

Mid-season in 1975 Moturoa changed its name to Taranaki United. The Moturoa club chairman Mr. A. M. Hogan, players and officials from Moturoa, United, City and Old Boys all agreeing to co-operate immediately to boost the provinces football standing. Both Moturoa and New Plymouth City, playing a division apart in the Central League changed to tangerine coloured kits for the remainder of 1975.

In the second half of the season Moturoa hosted North Wellington AFC at Lynmouth Park reversing a one nil loss earlier in the season. The return of Fin McDonald to the team proved of value. Moturoa played the type of football to suit the weather conditions, with long balls sent over half-way putting North Wellington under constant pressure. The visitors played a short-ball type of play. Peter Ritchie opened the scoring for Moturoa and the second goal came when Fin McDonald headed the ball back to Robbie Paul who scored to make the margin 2–0 at half-time. Fin McDonald followed up his earlier assist with a goal in the second half making the score 3–0. The season would only see three other wins for the Moturoa/Taranaki United side, all at home, beating Naenae, Wainuiomata and Wanganui. On the road, only a 1–1 draw at Lower Hutt City returned any points.

At the conclusion of the 1975 season Moturoa said farewell to mainstay Ray Powell who had made 50 Central League appearances for the club between 1973 and 1975.[114] Powell moved to Hamilton AFC winning the 1976 Northern League and Air NZ Cup,[124] before playing in the National League in 1977. He then moved to Waikato Unicol AFC as coach in 1978 winning the Northern League 4th division south.[125]

Both Moturoa United, set to be relegated from Central League Two and New Plymouth City, in the lower reaches of Central League Three, would withdraw from the Central League at the conclusion of 1975. New side, Taranaki United would take the place of the New Plymouth clubs' in the 1976 Central League.

In 1976 the newly established Taranaki Football Company entered into an arrangement with eight Taranaki clubs to provide their top players to a composite team. Fred Judge continued into the 1976 season as joint coach of Taranaki United.[122] After leaving Taranaki, Judge became a life-member of the Matamata Swifts.[126] Taranaki United[127] began playing in the new partitioned northern third division of the Central League in 1976 winning the title undefeated and promotion to the second division. In the 18 games the Taranaki United side played in 1976 Central League it only conceded 5 goals while scoring 88.[128] Taranaki United's prolific goal-scorer Rod Grant netted a record 33 goals for the 1976 season and collected a tally of 97 goals in 112 Central League appearances by 1978. In May 1978 Grant reached his "ton", only the second player to achieve the milestone at the time, Grant's feat has not since been equaled in Taranaki at this level of football.[122]

In 1976 the Western Tasman League consisted of; Moturoa, Old Boys', Wanganui City A and B, Hawera, Moutoa, Wanganui Athletic, Central City, Castlecliff, Inglewood, Stratford and Aramoho. Late season in the derby at Western Park, an early second half header from Don Harris, off a free kick just outside the penalty area secured a 1–0 win over Old Boys' denting their title hopes. The 1976 season was a mid-table finish for Moturoa, with Old Boys' challenging for the title. The match report stating in the sub-headline how Moturoa, "traditionally has the best of matches against arch-rival New Plymouth Old Boys."

In 1977 Moturoa AFC began an arrangement with the Puke Ariki Softball Club and later the Western Suburbs club, agreeing to share facilities at the Onuku Taipari Domain. Softball would continue at the ground sporadically for a further 13 years with the clubs maintaining their independence throughout.

Moturoa AFC were runner-up in the Western Tasman League and Duff Rosebowl in 1978. Captained by Jeff Gooch and coached by Paul Cunningham the team scored 75 goals with 24 against. Duncan Ritchie was the side's top scorer with 30 goals. The other members of the team; G. Collett, G. Urlich, P. Beveridge, GK P. Buchanan, M. Garvey, P. Hill, D. Harris, J & K Brbich and M. West.

In 1979 Moturoa were once again runner-up in the Western Tasman League. The title going to Old Boys.


The Western Tasman League (WTL) serviced the top clubs from Taranaki in 1980 with Taranaki United the sole club representing the province in the Central League. Moturoa's place in the WTL was managed by Tony Childs, along with teams in the TFA first division and second division, with the Moturoa Youth. The Moturoa ladies competed in the Taranaki Women's FA second division. The club youth continued to compete in the National under-18 competition, going out to Porirua Viard at Onuku Taipari Domain.

In 1981 Moturoa were runners up to Old Boys in the WTL. Over 18 matches, 11 were won, 5 drawn and 2 lost. 32 goals were scored and 17 were conceded. Three points separated the top two clubs with Central City one point behind Moturoa in third. Waitara, Wanganui Athletic, Athletic United, Wanganui City, Gonville, New Plymouth United and Inglewood finished behind in that order.[129]

Aerial Image by White Aviation of Moturoa AFC's home ground on Boxing Day 1984. In the bottom right is the Ngamotu Tavern, opened 1972 closed approximately 2000
Onuku Taipari Domain, New Plymouth. Boxing Day 1984

At the start of the 1982 season Moturoa had several defections, goalkeeper Kerry Wills and midfielder Bruce Reid both transferred to Havelock North. Bromfield, B. Smith, Urlich and Collett would join City. Through the recent amalgamation with Spotswood AFC, Moturoa gained promising players M. Winter, M. Honeyfield and D. Cudmore. Spotswood AFC players that didn't join the new club spread to New Plymouth United and new club Woodleigh Cosmos. Fitzroy, with ex-Moturoa United keeper George Yearbury recruited, would join the WTL three years after forming in the TFA leagues. Eltham AFC also joined the WTL with Wanganui East, Castlecliff and Hawera, increasing the WTL to a 26-game league. The league extended from 3 April to late September with Chatham Cup matches and other competitions entered played when possible.

The Taranaki Football Co. agreement lasted until 1982 when the New Plymouth Old Boys club bought out the Taranaki United identity and its position in the Central League as a limited company. In 1983 Central re-entered Central League Three under the New Plymouth City AFC name. Taranaki United existed until the end of the 1984 season when the team was relegated from Central League One starting 1985 in Central League Two as New Plymouth Old Boys.[116]

In 1985 Moturoa won the Western Tasman League, the City of New Plymouth Tournament, and the 1985 Duff Rose Bowl. Winning coach Mr. Terry Brady was awarded the Taranaki Football Association Sportsman of the Year in 1985.

After a ten-year absence, Moturoa AFC were promoted to the 1986 Central League to compete in the Third Division.

With a third of the 1986 season complete and top of the table Moturoa won the Nimmo Cup. The Nimmo Cup was originally set up as an end of season challenge match between the provinces top two teams determined on league status, with Old Boys the current holders. The cup had been delayed in 1985 with problems arranging a suitable date for the game, eventually, Old Boys decided not to contest the cup and a match was scheduled between Moturoa and City. In a mid-week game under-lights on the night of 8 May, in what was reported to be a "magnificent Pukekura Park on a cold, crisp night with hardly a breath of wind".[130] Moturoa took an early lead through a powerful drive from Richard Anderson 25m out from the City goal after Moturoa was first to settle into a playing pattern under the parks floodlighting system, but conceded a penalty before half-time, scored by ex-Moturoa United player and now City player/coach Peter Ritchie. Due to the suspension of Moturoa's first choice strikers it was left to the replacement striking duo of Brian Gough and Jeff Strongman to combine to break the deadlock late in the second half with Strongman finding the goal giving Moturoa the victory and the 1986 Nimmo Cup. Moturoa's goal-keeper Mike Winter won the man of the match award.[131][130]

In the Central League, Moturoa showed that the recent resurgence of its goal-scoring form in beating Wanganui City 3–0 at home was no fluke by putting seven goals past a Napier Technical which had previously had a good defensive record. It took 20 minutes to score, when a free-kick outside of the penalty area was touched wide of the defensive wall by John Hogg and Jeff Gooch hit a tremendous left-foot drive. Brian Gough scored the second and thirty seconds before the half Darren Walsh made it 3–0. After the kick off it took Walsh 40 seconds to score without Napier having a constructive touch of the ball. Further goals from Gough, Gooch and one from Hogg completed the scoring, by this time Moturoa were having difficulties motivating and for the only time in the match Napier began to see better ball. The result, 7–0 is a club record for an away win in the Central League. In the same weekend of match-play at New Plymouth and in the same league, future Moturoa player/coach Dominico Squatriti scored a double for Levin United in a dual with the man of the match, New Plymouth City goalkeeper David Milne at Pukekura Park. The 2–0 win for Levin United leaving City just above the relegation/qualification places.

Moturoa finished the 1986 Central League in sixth. Home town rivals New Plymouth City finished tenth.[132]

The 1987 season concluded with the Third Division trophy being awarded to Wainuiomata's Ken Barclay in the Moturoa AFC clubrooms by Brian Phelan and Central League President Keith Ross after a 1–1 result been had played out between the two clubs. Sponsored by the New Plymouth Caravan Centre, N.P.C.C. Moturoa finished third in 1987 with 10 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses from 18 matches, scoring 43 goals and conceding 19. Rival club New Plymouth City finished ahead of Moturoa in second place winning promotion with Wainuiomata AFC to the second division for 1988.[133] Moturoa striker Darren Walsh left to join Nelson United for the 1988 National League.[133][134]

In 1988 Moturoa finished ninth from eleven teams with Port Hill United and Takaro AFC beneath the club on the ladder.[135]

In 1989 Moturoa and New Plymouth City[136] formed a composite first team in the Central League called Moturoa/NP City. Moturoa relinquished the third division position with the new team taking the second division position held by City.[116][136] The playing strip in 1989 mixed the colours of both clubs, with the Pony branded shirt in red with gold shoulders, trim and numbering and the main sponsor, the Ngamotu Tavern across the chest in white. 1971 Chatham Cup winner with Western Suburbs FC, John Connor (JC) was assigned the head coaching role. Many players were brought in for the 1989 season, Englishmen Russell Irving and Darren Fletcher along with New Zealand under 16 midfielder, Wellingtonian Karl Cherrie.[137] Darren Walsh would return from Nelson United to partner Irving up front. Irving would leave behind a Sudbury Town FC team due to play in the final of the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium[138] for an early April debut at a bumpy, hard and narrow pitch at Raumati Beach, providing an assist for Des Cronin to volley home an equaliser in a 1–1 draw with the Raumati Hearts.[139][140] Moturoa/NP City won promotion to Division One as runners up behind the Havelock North Wanderers. In the second to last game of the 1989 season at Wembley Park against Ken Dugdale's Wanganui Athletic, disaster struck when Darren Fletcher scored an astounding own goal. From nearly half-way, striking a ruthless back-pass after receiving a goal kick, leaving Moturoa/City goalkeeper Simon Eaddy stranded and the crowd shocked. Fletcher and Moturoa/City midfielder Warren Wisneski would then each be booked for an ensuing melee. With 15 minutes remaining Athletic latched on to a mistimed pass across the defence, with the attempt smothered but falling loose Wanganui slammed it home. Karl Cherrie set to put things straight with a knee-high volley crashing into the net from outside the area in the latter stages but it wasn't to be, and a match Moturoa shouldn't have lost, the precious three points needed to remain in first equal with the Wanderers on the table and push for the title, were dropped.

Wanganui Athletic, while only finishing mid-table in 1989, would continue building their side and through of promotion and the restructuring of the Central League divisions, would eventually win the Central Premier League in 1992 and promotion to the newly introduced 1993 New Zealand Superclub League to join the new Taranaki club New Plymouth Rangers.

Moturoa City had the best defence in the entire three divisions of the Central League in 1989 with only 16 goals conceded in 22 matches while scoring 42,[140] leading the table for three-quarters of the season. The team also had an admirable home record at the Onuku Taipari Domain, which saw the side undefeated in the league, conceding a mere three goals.[141] Irving and Fletcher left Moturoa City to join Old Boys in the National League for the 1990 season.


Back in the first division for the first time since 1974 Moturoa City sourced three imported players for the year with Englishmen Michael Bell from Seaton Delaval FC and recently of Old Boys' and Mark Walthew and David Turner joining the squad in mid-April. Turner returned to England before June.

The Moturoa City side had a feeder policy with Old Boys' who were in the National League with players moving between the two clubs. Mike Fugett, Moturoa player, coach and committee member throughout the 1960s and 70s, would be appointed the manager of Old Boys' National League side.

The 1990 Moturoa City squad included players; Mike Winter, Simon Eaddy, Grant Beatty, Shaun McElhannan, Warren Wisneski, Tony Reilly, John Hogg, Reece Kurta, Darren Walsh, Maarten Van Hattum, Craig Russell, John Perera, Glen Hooper, Steve Doorey, Craig Jessop, Robbie Hopkins, Ian Walker, Steve Cottam, Campbell Donaldson, Ross Wright, Steve Ebert, Karl Cherrie and Chris Andrews. John Connor and Dean Gower were the team management.

In mid-June Moturoa City players; Walsh, Walthew, Winter, and Wisneski were selected for the Taranaki representative side for the trip to Christchurch to play Canterbury for the Winfield Cup.

As part of their preparations for the 1990 Asian Games, China's national football team visited New Zealand, playing four matches. The visitors lost their two matches against the New Zealand national team. The local press described the visitors as an "exciting team". China arrived to New Plymouth from Dunedin, after beating Otago 2–0 a day earlier on a wet and heavy pitch at the Caledonian Ground. Taranaki faced the visiting Chinese in good weather conditions at Pukekura Park losing 3–0. The match kicked-off at 3:15 pm, on 21 August, a Tuesday. Despite this the crowd was decent due to the work of the New Plymouth media and co-operation from some schools.

At the conclusion of the 1990 season, executive distractions off the pitch, travelling pressures, including an away match in the South Island against Nelson United, along with significant changes in the squad, concluded in the failure of the two clubs to agree on the conditions of the proposed amalgamation. Moturoa City were relegated back to Central League Two on goal difference, tied with Wellington United on 22 points. Moturoa had beaten Diamond during the season 3–1 at the Onuku Taipari Domain, but lost the reverse fixture 2–0 in the capital. Havelock North Wanderers, beaten at Guthrie Park 2–0, and at New Plymouth 1–0, finished well back with only 13 points at the foot of the ladder joining Moturoa City in the drop.

Moturoa AFC independently retained the position in Division Two of the Central League from 1991. Changing back to wear all red, Terry Brady returned as Moturoa's head coach with Dennis Gooch as manager and a newly assembled squad of players. Captain Michael Winter would leave the goal-keeping duties to David Douglas from New Plymouth United, Tommy Campbell would join from Wellington, with Will Grieve, Chris Andrews, Grant McKenna, Steve Blakelock, Paul Dodds, Darren Walsh, Lee Radcliffe, Craig Russell, Simon Bance, Grant Beatty, Dave Burbidge, Luke Roborgh, Troy Goodridge and vice-captain Campbell Waugh. In the league, the first meetings since 1974 between Moturoa and the recently promoted and resurgent Seatoun AFC resulted in a 1–0 loss at home, and a 2–0 loss away at Seatoun Park. Heavy home losses to Island Bay United (5–0) and Havelock North (3–0) contributed to the side finishing eighth, and with a better away record than at the Onuku Taipari Domain. At home results varied, Wairarapa United were beaten 6–2, Stokes Valley 3–2, and Raumati Hearts 4–1. Drawn matches with Napier City Rovers B, Gisborne Thistle, both 0–0, and Manawatu 1–1, were points well earned, though a heavy 4–0 defeat at home to Wanganui City, who had been a rival side throughout the late 1970s and '80s within the leagues, and had given a point to Moturoa in a scoreless draw at Wanganui, highlighted the inconsistencies of the side's results. Solid away wins against Taradale 2–0 and Wairarapa United 3–0 combined with close wins against Stokes Valley and Manawatu, 1–0, added to a goal tally of 25 scored and 34 conceded in 22 games, with nine losses, seven wins and six matches finishing in a draw. Seatoun took the league honours at the completion of the season, promoted with second placed Napier City Rovers.

Hawera AFC joined the 1991 Central League Division Three, giving Taranaki two Central League sides, finishing ninth in the twelve-team league.

In 1992 the creation of the Central Premier League restructured the divisions. Moturoa competed in Central League One. Hawera moved up to Central League Two with New Plymouth United winning promotion to Central League Three from the Taranaki Premier League. Hawera would finish the season relegated from Central League Two crossing over with the promoted 1992 Central League Three champion New Plymouth United. New Plymouth City moved into Marfell Park after the ground and clubroom became available following the amalgamation of Star RFC and Spotswood Old Boys RFC remaining at the ground and climbing through the Central League until 1997 when the club, renamed Mt. Taranaki for its final year, were dissolved and the grounds and clubroom abandoned and eventually demolished.

In 1993, coached by Angus Livingstone, Moturoa won promotion to the Central Premier League as runners-up behind champions Stokes Valley. The acquisition of Stephen Douglas from Glentoran FC and fellow Northern Ireland countryman Tony Jones from East Belfast FC assisting the club's push for honours. Jones would later transfer to Napier City Rovers with Douglas returning to Europe to play for Bangor FC.[142]

1994 saw Moturoa finish at the foot of the ladder in the Central Premier League and a decision was made by the club committee to withdraw from regional football and return the focus of the club to local football for the 1995 season. There was talk in the air and media around this time of a merger between Woodleigh Cosmos and Moturoa, with the clubs already co-operating in the prior two seasons with composite ladies and youth teams. Both clubs remained independent with the reports amounting to nothing. Woodleigh also withdrew from a single season in the 1994 Central League.[143]

The decision proved beneficial to the club with a restructuring of the Taranaki Premier League in 1995 by the TFA and a new league sponsorship deal with Tyrrell Aviation providing prize-money, not seen of late, as an extra incentive to win the Taranaki title, something the Central League with all of the extra expense and hectic travelling schedule, failed to match. Club president Jimmy Seed secured past Moturoa AFC club captain John Winter as coach of the rebuild. Moturoa United ex-player, John Judge would lead the recently formed New Plymouth Rangers team in the new league, joined by Graeme Yuiles' Woodleigh side as the "big 3", with Inglewood, New Plymouth Boys High School, New Plymouth City and Fitzroy joined by southern teams Kaponga, Eltham and Hawera in the new league structure.[144]

The Taranaki Daily News on 24 November 1999 ran a story of the club doing its best to regain some prominence for the sport in Taranaki. Soccer Taranaki (ST), the administrative body with past Moturoa manager Angus Livingstone as its Chairman (which took the place of the Taranaki Football Association) had been treading water for most of the last five years. Talk of a long over-due united Taranaki side had come to nothing so Moturoa had taken up the challenge with the club's entry to the 2000 Central League being accepted. Club membership was 200 players across the grades, the club-room was now freehold after years of fundraising and committed membership and Moturoa had recently won the 1999 Taranaki Premier League, scoring 86 goals and conceding only 15 goals with just one match ending in defeat. The reserves had finished third in Division One and the Division Two side had won their league and trophies.[145]

Central Federation League[edit]

In 2000 the New Zealand Football Association changed the league structure. The new structure nationally had seven district federations that were divided into three zones, central, northern and southern. Premier, first division and second division leagues were at graded levels between 2 and 4. The eventual winner of each zone was involved in a play-off series with the ultimate prize a level 1 play-off for a place in the NZ National Championship.

The Central Federation Premier League, the second level of football in New Zealand at the time, replaced the Central League, in place since 1968. The Central League's Wellington clubs returned to a three-tier Capital League, the Wanganui and Manawatu clubs again revisited a two division Mid-Central League, and the Hawkes Bay clubs a three tier Hawkes Bay league. The Taranaki region had, due to its relative isolation, become limited within the new NZFA structure. Moturoa qualified for the new Central Federation Premier League as Taranaki champions, the club entering the new league with Gisborne City, PN Marist, PN Red Sox, Havelock North Wanderers, Taradale and the top Wanganui sides – Athletic & City. Manawatu AFC B and Napier City Rovers B, both reserve squads of their respective NZ National Championship clubs, were ineligible for the promotion play-offs. A 1–0 defeat at Havelock North, and a 1–2 defeat to Red Sox at Onuku Taipari Domain had Moturoa near the foot of the table, with the first points coming in a 2–0 victory over PN Marist in the third round and an away draw at Taradale in the fourth. Results proved inconsistent for Moturoa, until the final eleven matches, which had the side unbeaten. Manawatu, the league champion and ineligible for the play-offs, drew with Moturoa at New Plymouth 1–1, and lost 1–2 at home. Havelock North Wanderers, who had played out a 2–2 draw at New Plymouth in the final league match, won the play-off berth finishing in second place ahead of Napier City Rovers. Moturoa, beaten by Napier City Rovers 2–0 in the first round won the return fixture at Onuku Taipari Domain, 2–1.[116] In the play off between Federations 4 & 5, Havelock North defeated Western Suburbs 7 - 5 on aggregate, to progress as Central Region champions to the Ansett NCC Qualification series with the northern champions Tauranga City, and southern champions Caversham, at Palmerston North's Memorial Park. The southern champions Caversham, after a draw 3 - 3 against Havelock North and a 3 - 1 win against Tauranga City, progressed to play Auckland's Metro, bottom placed in the National championship, in the decider at North Harbour Stadium, with Metro winning the match to remain in the National Championship.

2002 – Moturoa were runners up in the Central Federation Cup Final with Liverpudlian James Graham as coach.

In 2003 Moturoa finished in tenth and headed into a relegation/promotion play-off against the winner of Western and Pacific league champion play-off. Peringa United as Western league champion had beaten Gisborne Thistle the Pacific league winner by penalties after playing out a 3–3 drawn game at Park Island, Napier. In the first game of the two leg play-off final Moturoa at home won 4–2. Peringa took an early lead before John Fletcher scored his first. An own goal before halftime made it 2–1 to Moturoa. Malcom Bourgoise scored after the break before Fletcher scoring again made it 4–1. A strike in the 90' by previous Moturoa striker Scott Smith, gave a second away goal to United. The match was overturned and awarded 2–0 to Peringa United on protest. In the second leg through three-second half goals, the first to Brent Flynn and a brace for Nathan Hill, Moturoa took the match 3–2 on aggregate retaining its place in the Federation league.[146]

In 2004 Moturoa gave up the position in the Central Federation Premier league to the Taranaki clubs who united, forming the entity Team Taranaki.[147]

In 2005 the Central League is revived once again.

In 2006 Team Taranaki win promotion to the Central League after winning the Central Federation Premier League. The Capital Premier winners Petone are beaten 4–2 on penalties after a 1–1 draw after two legs. A two-leg play-off against last placed Red Sox Manawatu ends 5–1 to Team Taranaki. After this year this Central Federation League became the Western and Pacific leagues once again.[148]

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