New Zealand Rugby
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New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is the
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...
of
rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, two codes of rugby f ...
in
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
. It was founded in 1892 as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU), 12 years after the first provincial unions in New Zealand. In 1949 it became an affiliate to the International Rugby Football Board, now known as
World Rugby World Rugby is the world governing body for the sport of rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. O ...
, the governing body of rugby union for the world. It dropped the word "Football" from its name in 2006. The brand name ''New Zealand Rugby'' was adopted in 2013. Officially, it is an
incorporated society In New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of ...
with the name New Zealand Rugby Union Incorporated. The organisation's main objectives, as displayed in the NZR Constitution, are to promote and develop rugby throughout New Zealand; arrange and participate in matches and tours in New Zealand and overseas; represent New Zealand in World Rugby; form and manage New Zealand representative teams; and encourage participation in the sport. NZR Headquarters are located in
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
, New Zealand, with an office in
Auckland Auckland ( mi, Tāmaki Makaurau) is a large metropolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. The List of New Zealand urban areas by population, most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of about It is locate ...

Auckland
.


Structure

New Zealand Rugby has a staff of approximately 90 people, mostly based in Wellington and Auckland but also working in locations all around New Zealand. NZR was initially governed by a committee of delegates from the provincial unions until replaced in 1894 by a seven-member Wellington-based management committee. Administrative responsibilities were initially held by honorary secretaries, and then secretaries, from 1907. This was expanded 43 years later to create two entities, the ruling NZRU Council and an executive committee. In 1986, three geographical zones were formed to elect the members of the ruling council, and the executive committee was replaced by an administration committee. Since 1990, the NZRU has been managed by a CEO. In 1996, the NZRU's ruling council was replaced by an expanded board to include independent members and an elected Maori representative. In 2015, the geographical zones were abolished so that vacant elective seats on the board could be contested by nominees from any provincial union in New Zealand without restriction on place of residence.


Patron and officers

New Zealand Rugby's Patron fills an honorary role as the figurehead for the organisation. The position of Patron is currently vacant following the death of in August 2019. The President and Vice President are the Union's two officers who represent New Zealand Rugby at functions and events. Unlike the Patron, the President and Vice President may attend board meetings of New Zealand Rugby, although they are not entitled to vote on board matters. The President and Vice President are elected for two years each. The current President is
Bill Osborne William Michael Osborne (born 24 April 1955) is a former New Zealand rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th ...
and the current Vice President is Max Spence.


Board

The Board is charged with setting strategy, direction and policy for the New Zealand Rugby Union, and is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of NZRU management and staff. Many of the decisions concerning New Zealand's national teams, domestic competitions, financial management and rugby traditions are made by the Board. As of September 2018, the Board has nine members: six elected members (including one Maori representative) and three independent members. Any provincial union in New Zealand may nominate candidates for vacant elective positions. Nominations are passed to an Appointments and Remuneration Committee (ARC) which recommends two candidates per vacancy, to be voted on by delegates at the Annual General Meeting. The Maori representative is automatically appointed as New Zealand Rugby's representative on and Chairman of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board. The independent board members must be independent of any provincial union and are not nominated for the role. Instead, independent members must apply for the position and are selected on the basis of their professional qualifications and experience by a committee from the Board of New Zealand Rugby.


Executive management team and staff

New Zealand Rugby's management and staff reports to an executive team headed by the Chief Executive Officer. This team includes various managers for all aspects of New Zealand Rugby ranging from community and provincial rugby to the All Blacks teams. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), working with the Board, is responsible for the establishment of the vision and strategy for the organisation, and acts as the key link between the Board and the staff. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the administrative and operational aspects of New Zealand Rugby. The current CEO is Mark Robinson, who took up the post in January 2020, succeeding Steve Tew.


History

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) was formed in 1892 to administer the game of rugby union at the national level. At that time, the national union was known as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union or NZRFU. The name was officially shortened in 2006 with the removal of the word "Football". The brand name New Zealand Rugby was adopted in 2013 for "everyday" use because it was seen as less "stuffy" and the word "Union" had some negative connotations. The first rugby match to be played in New Zealand took place in Nelson in May 1870, between Nelson College and Nelson Football Club. The game spread quickly and in September 1875 the first interprovincial match took place in Dunedin, between Auckland Clubs and Dunedin Clubs. In 1879, the first provincial unions were formed in Canterbury and Wellington.


Formation and early years

On Saturday 16 April 1892, in a meeting held in
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
, the New Zealand Rugby Union was formed. Inaugural members were the provincial unions of
Auckland Auckland ( mi, Tāmaki Makaurau) is a large metropolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. The List of New Zealand urban areas by population, most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of about It is locate ...
,
Hawke's Bay Hawke's Bay Region ( mi, Te Matau-a-Māui) is a local government region of New Zealand on the east coast of the North Island. The region's name derives from Hawke Bay, which was named by Captain James Cook Captain (Royal Navy), Captain J ...
,
Manawatu The Manawatu District is a Territorial authorities of New Zealand, local government district in the Manawatū-Whanganui Region in the North Island of New Zealand. The district is based on the town of Feilding and includes most of the area betw ...
,
Marlborough Marlborough may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Marlborough, Wiltshire, England ** Marlborough College, public school * Malborough, village in Devon, England * Marlborough School, Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England * The Marlborough Science Acade ...
,
Nelson Nelson may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Nelson (1918 film), ''Nelson'' (1918 film), a historical film directed by Maurice Elvey * Nelson (1926 film), ''Nelson'' (1926 film), a historical film directed by Walter Summers * Nelson (opera), ''N ...
,
South Canterbury South Canterbury is the area of the Canterbury Region Canterbury ( mi, Waitaha) is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human ge ...
,
Taranaki Taranaki is a regions of New Zealand, region in the west of New Zealand's North Island. It is named after its main geographical feature, the stratovolcano of Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont. The main centre is the city of New Plymout ...
, Waiararapa,
Wanganui Whanganui (; ), previously spelled Wanganui, is a list of cities in New Zealand, city in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand. The city is located on the west coast of the North Island at the mouth of the Whanganui River, New Zealand' ...
and
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...
. At the time, three major South Island provincial unions –
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...
, Otago Rugby Football Union, Otago and Southland Rugby Football Union, Southland – resisted the central authority of the NZRU. In 1893, the NZRU formally adopted the black jersey as the national playing strip and selected the first NZRU-sanctioned national team, for a tour of Australia. However, the earlier New Zealand team selected to tour New South Wales in 1884 is recognised as a New Zealand team and its players recognised as All Blacks. By 1895, with the additions of the Bush, Canterbury, Horowhenua, Otago, Poverty Bay, Southland and West Coast unions, the NZRU was considered to be a complete and united collection of all New Zealand rugby players. However, the New Zealand rugby mapNew Zealand Rugby Map
as of 2005
would be repeatedly redrawn in the following decades. At the Annual Meeting in 1921, the NZRU elected its first Life Member, George Dixon, manager of the 1905 “The Original All Blacks, Originals” All Blacks and the NZRU's first Chairman, appointed in 1904. In another innovation, provincial delegates met prior to the Annual Meeting to arrange representative fixtures for the season ahead, introducing a new level of national coordination.


Provincial rugby

In 1976, the National Provincial Championship was formed to help organise matches between provincial unions, it had two divisions in its first year of play but the format was repeatedly reorganized throughout its 30-year history, notably in 1992 the rugby union bonus points system, bonus points system was brought in to determine the top placed team. Auckland representative rugby union team, Auckland have been the most successful team in the NPC's history with 16 championships including the last in 2005. At the conclusion of the NPC there were three divisions and 27 unions under the NZRU's jurisdiction, it was replaced by the National Provincial Championship (2006–present), Air New Zealand Cup and Heartland Championship in 2006 with 14 teams in the top competition, including the new Tasman Makos, who formed with the amalgamation of the Marlborough and Nelson Bays Rugby Unions, and 12 teams in the amateur Heartland Championship. After changes in sponsorship in 2010, 2016 and 2021, the Air New Zealand Cup became the ITM Cup, Mitre 10 Cup and is now the Bunnings NPC.


All Blacks

The All Blacks are New Zealand's number one national rugby side and have rated among the best in the world for well over 100 years. Their name and distinctive all black playing strip have become well known to rugby and non-rugby fans worldwide. The first New Zealand team was selected in 1884, for a tour to New South Wales. The team played its first match at home, against a Wellington XV, before recording eight wins in eight matches in Australia. Otago Rugby Football Union, Otago prop James Allan (rugby), James Allan, who played eight matches for the 1884 team, has the title of All Black No 1. In 1893, the first official NZRU-sanctioned New Zealand team was selected, for an 11-match tour to Australia national rugby union team, Australia. The team lost just once, to New South Wales Waratahs, New South Wales in Sydney. In 1894, an official New Zealand team hosted visiting opposition on home soil for the first time, in a match against New South Wales at Christchurch won 8–6 by the visitors, two years later, New Zealand beat Queensland Reds, Queensland at
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
to record its first home win against visiting opposition. New Zealand's 1905–06 tour to the United Kingdom, France and North America might be considered the most important in New Zealand rugby history. The team played 35 matches in total, the only team to beat them was Wales. In the United Kingdom especially, the team's largely confident, attractive and comfortable wins made a strong statement about the quality of rugby in the colonies and New Zealand in particular. Moreover, the 1905–06 tour gave rise to the famous “All Blacks” moniker, as the fame surrounding the black-clad team spread. Nowadays, this team is known as “The Original All Blacks, the Originals” – they were the first team to demonstrate the power and skill of New Zealand rugby, the first to make rugby a part of New Zealand's cultural identity, and the first to be known as All Blacks. In 1924–25, the All Blacks embarked on a 32-match tour to the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Going one better than the 1905–06 Originals, this team won all 32 matches, including Test wins over Ireland, Wales, England and France, and earned the nickname “the Invincibles”. In 1956, the All Blacks won a Test series against South Africa for the first time. The Springboks were the All Blacks’ greatest traditional rivals and had delivered some of the All Blacks’ worst defeats. In 1978, the All Blacks achieved a Grand Slam for the first time. For southern hemisphere sides like New Zealand, a Grand Slam includes victories over the four Home Unions – England national rugby union team, England, Ireland national rugby union team, Ireland, Scotland national rugby union team, Scotland and Wales national rugby union team, Wales – in the course of a single tour. The team achieved a second Grand Slam in 2005 and a third in 2008 In 1987, the All Blacks won the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup against France, hosted by New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand also won the Rugby World Cup Finals— in 2011 Rugby World Cup, 2011, after an 2011 Rugby World Cup Final, 8–7 victory over France in front of a home crowd, and in 2015 Rugby World Cup Final, 34–17 victory over Australia at Twickenham in 2015 Rugby World Cup, 2015. The latter win made the All Blacks the first side ever to successfully defend a Rugby World Cup title


Professional era

In 1995, following the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup tournament in South Africa, international rugby turned professional with the IRB's repeal of all amateurism regulations. For the first time, the NZRU negotiated with and contracted New Zealand rugby players. The NZRU also joined with the national unions of Australian Rugby Union, Australia and South African Rugby Union, South Africa to form SANZAAR, SANZAR, which sold the television rights for major southern hemisphere rugby competitions and helped to build the commercial foundation on which professional rugby is based. SANZAR, renamed SANZAAR with the 2016 entry of Argentine Rugby Union, Argentina as a full member of the body, remains an important rugby organisation and organises The Rugby Championship (originally the Tri Nations) and the Super Rugby competition.


National teams

The NZRU has several teams under its control.


Men

*New Zealand national rugby union team, All Blacks – the national men's rugby union team of New Zealand *Junior All Blacks – the second national team behind the All Blacks and not an age graded side. *New Zealand national rugby sevens team, Sevens – the national Rugby Sevens, rugby sevens team of New Zealand. Established in 1983, when the first full international side was sent to the Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens tournament. *Māori All Blacks – the national men's Māori team of New Zealand. Members of this team must have at least 1/16 Māori ancestry (equivalent to one great-great-grandparent). *New Zealand national under-20 rugby union team, Under 20s – an age graded side created after World Rugby (then known as the IRB) folded its former under-19 and under-21 World Championships into an under-20 competition currently known as the World Rugby Under 20 Championship. Currently the country's top age-grade side, and also sometimes referred to as the "Baby Blacks." *New Zealand national under-21 rugby union team, Under 21s – an age graded side that has developed some of today's current All Blacks, also sometimes referred to as the "Baby Blacks." *New Zealand Heartland XV, Heartland XV – established in 1988 to expose players from Divisions Two and Three in the Air New Zealand NPC to rugby at a higher level. After the 2006 reorganisation of the NPC into the fully professional Air New Zealand Cup, now Mitre 10 Cup, and the nominally amateur Heartland Championship, the team now consists solely of players from the Heartland Championship. *New Zealand Schools Rugby Team, NZ Schools – a development team of school players who move up to the Under 20s and ultimately the All Blacks.


Women

*Black Ferns – the national women's rugby union team of New Zealand. *New Zealand women's national rugby sevens team, Sevens – the national women's Rugby Sevens, rugby sevens team of New Zealand.


Referees

The New Zealand Rugby Union have a number of contracted referees who officiated in levels from Heartland matches to ITM Cup and Super Rugby. The system in which referees are selected, appointed to matches and progress through to the next stage is very structured with a number of referee coaches, viewers and managers assisting them with their performances. However, only 5 referees are on professional contracts, Glen Jackson (rugby union), Glen Jackson, Brendon Pickerill, Ben O'Keeffe, Paul Williams (rugby referee), Paul Williams, Nick Briant and Mike Fraser (rugby referee), Mike Fraser. The professionals are appointed to refereeing Super Rugby matches by SANZAAR with some refereeing test rugby.


Provincial unions

The NZRU comprises 17 North Island provincial unions and 9 South Island provincial unions.


North Island

The North Island provincial unions are:


South Island

The South Island provincial unions are:


See also

* List of New Zealand rugby union teams * New Zealand Rugby Museum


Notes and references


External links


Official organisational website of the NZRU
{{Authority control Sports organizations established in 1892 New Zealand rugby union governing bodies, Sports governing bodies in New Zealand, Rugby Union Rugby union governing bodies in Oceania World Rugby members 1892 establishments in New Zealand