Bagpipes sounded loud and clear around the Pukerau rugby grounds to commemorate a trio of fallen club members.
The instrument was played to lead Pukerau and Pioneer rugby teams on to the field for a memorial match on Saturday.
Pukerau hosted the match for the past four years to remember club player Daniel “Boy” Crawford who died in a car accident in 2017.
There was extra significance to this year’s match as it was played to remember player Shaun Hattrill and his partner Nicola Henare, who died in a car accident earlier this year.
Hattrill’s sister, Teri, piped the teams on to the field, followed by a minute’s silence.
Henare’s brother, Liam played for Pukerau and led the side on to the pitch.
Crawford’s brother Josh played for Pioneer and the team was put together specifically for the match.
Pukerau captain Bevan Ross said it was a big occasion for the club to remember their members.
“It’s a huge game for us,” Ross said.
“Dan played for Pukerau and we lost him about three years ago and we lost Shaun and Nicola [at the] start of this year.
“It means a lot for us having three people from the club [to play for].”
Pukerau went down 20-10 to Pioneer for the first time in the memorial match’s history, for the Daniel Crawford Shield.
“It’s the first time we’ve lost to Pioneer but it was awesome to play.
“It was in good spirits and a good bit of fun.”
Members from all three families were among the large crowd the game attracted.
“It’s a great turnout and quite a lot of support for us families were there.”
The match would return next season, he said.
“We want to continue it it an ongoing thing for them.”