One of the great things about Tukapa is the club spirit that has existed through its 100 years. Our unique club song ‘The Cast Iron Chicken’ has played a significant role in fostering those feelings of club spirit and togetherness. Although perhaps not heard so often these days it still gets the blood running when the ‘oldies’ and today’s players render ‘The Cast Iron Chicken’ – at the Club rooms, at Rugby Park, on the bus, and particularly at the opposition’s club rooms on the occasion of a victory.
The Cast Iron Chicken had its origin (according to Tom Smith, oldest Life Member in 1967) in 1902. Tukapa were playing Waimate at Manaia and with a very strong side were confident of success. They arrived in the township before lunch and were staying at Bill Slattery’s hotel, where the host had prepared a special dinner for the occasion – a chicken dinner. The “chickens” proved to be very antique birds and were so tough that it was impossible to even chew them. The team had a very poor dinner and were still hungry when they went on to play. They were beaten by Waimate and so naturally blamed the chickens.
On the way home, someone (the composer is not actually known) made up a song, which from that day some 90 years ago until today is known to generations of Tukapas as “The Cast Iron Chicken”.
During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, the number of clashes at Senior A level were few and it has only been in the past 3 or 4 seasons that the two clubs have regularly met.
In earlier years visits to Manaia always seemed to have a certain glamour about them, and win or lose the Tukapa’s always enjoyed this trip more than others. The Cast Iron Chicken was always rendered and often by request a small “concert” would take place in the Bank rotunda in the centre of town. On one occasion, two live white leghorn chickens mysteriously made their way into the bus and were eventually presented to the captain of the team, Harry Boswell.