– a recent history based on a proud heritage
Tasman Rugby Union was formed in December 2005 as an amalgamation of
the Nelson Bays and Marlborough Rugby Unions, thereby becoming New
Zealand’s newest provincial union.
newly formed Union assumed responsibility for the delivery
and administration of grass roots rugby at junior level schools &
clubs and senior clubs across the top of the South Island (Te Tau
Ihu) from the Marlborough and Nelson Bays Rugby Unions.
Marlborough Union had been founded in 1888. Known as the “Red
Devils”, Marlborough rugby has a proud heritage including holding
the storied Ranfurly Shield for six defences in 1973-4.
Nelson Bays Union aka “the Griffins” was founded in 1968, itself
an amalgamation of the Nelson and Golden Bays-Motueka Rugby Unions.
Nelson had been founded in 1885 (becoming the
nation’s sixth provincial union)
and Golden Bays-Motueka in 1920.
Home of Rugby in New Zealand,
being where the first ever competitive rugby match took place in May
1870 at The Botanics between a Nelson College side and Nelson
– looking after the grass-roots.
Union’s Charter is to provide
an infrastructure and environment that fosters the perpetual
development and enjoyment of rugby within the Tasman region. The game
comes first, everything else comes second.
Union manages the
and administration of grass roots rugby for 220 teams at 33
affiliated schools and clubs in the region, a total of 6,100 players
and 50 referees. Rugby
is the region’s leading team sport.
is achieved by a small but dedicated team of employed managers, rugby
development officers and administrators based in Nelson and Blenheim.
– providing a pathway to a Black Jersey
Union also facilitates pathways and development for participants to
achieve higher honours including Marlborough, Nelson Bays &
Tasman age grade and senior teams, Tasman Mako men & women teams,
Super Rugby and NZ representation.
its short history the Union has locally developed ~
- 7 All Blacks
- 11 Maori All Blacks
- 8 All Black Sevens
NZ Under 20’s
- 9 NZ Secondary Schools
3 Black Ferns Sevens
TRU Officials – 2006 - 2018
|President||Chairman||CEO||Head Coach||Captain||Life Members|
|2006||John Goodman||Max Spence||Lee Germon||Dennis Brown||Ti'i Paulo|
|2007||John Goodman||Max Spence||Lee Germon||Dennis Brown||Alex Ainley|
|2008||Kelly Landon Lane||Nick Patterson||Peter Barr||Todd Blackadder||Andrew Goodman|
|2009||Kelly Landon Lane||Nick Patterson||Peter Barr||Kieran Keane||Andrew Goodman|
|2010||Duncan McKenzie||Nick Patterson||Peter Barr||Kieran Keane||Chris Jack|
|2011||Duncan McKenzie||Nick Patterson||Peter Barr||Kieran Keane||Andrew Goodman|
|2012||Trevor Gilmore||Nick Patterson||Andrew Flexman||Kieran Keane||Andrew Goodman|
|2013||Trevor Gilmore||Ken Beams||Andrew Flexman||Kieran Keane||Shane Christie||Max Spence|
|2014||Shane Drummond||Ken Beams||Tony Lewis||Kieran Keane||Shane Christie|
|2015||Shane Drummond||Ken Beams||Tony Lewis||Kieran Keane||Shane Christie||Kieran Keane|
|2016||John Tapp||Ken Beams||Tony Lewis||Leon MacDonald||Shane Christie|
|2017||John Tapp||Ken Beams||Tony Lewis||Leon MacDonald||Alex Ainley|
|2018||Ramon Sutherland||Wayne Young||Tony Lewis||Leon MacDonald||David Havili||Shane Drummond|
|2019||Ramon Sutherland||Wayne Young||Tony Lewis||Andrew Goodman / Clarke Dermody||David Havili|
|Scott Ford ||Independent|
|Scott Gibbons *||Independent|
|Tony Healey||Nelson Bays|
|Tony Peacock||Nelson Bays|
|Tony Lewis ||CEO|
|Koren Grason||Finance Manager|
|Les Edwards||Commercial & Marketing Manager |
|TBD||Commercial Manager - Marlborough |
|TBD||Office Administrator |
|Kahu Marfell||Community Rugby Manager |
|Mark Cochrane||Rugby Development Officer - Nelson |
|TBD||Rugby Development Officer - Marlborough|
|George Vance||Women's Rugby Development Officer|
|Chris Goodman||Crusaders Academy Manager |
|Dave Paterson||Referee Education Officer |
|Nevin Price ||Analyst |
|Rugby Operations |
|Steve Mitchell ||Competitions & Operations Manager |
|TBD||Competitions & Operations Administrator |
|Wendy Lindstrom||Admin Manager - Marlborough |
| Andrew Goodman||Co-Head Coach |
|Clarke Dermody||Co-Head Coach |
|Shane Christie||Assistant Coach |
|Gray Cornelius||Assistant Coach |
|Martyn Vercoe ||Team Manager|
|Jimmy Holden||Strength & Conditioning Coach|
|David Mangnull||Professional Development Manager |
Tasman Mako (2006 ~ 2011)
– troubled beginnings and difficult times.
formation of the Tasman Rugby Union was primarily driven to
allow the region to field a team – the Tasman Mako - in the 14-team
premier 2006 national provincial competition (the NPC).
the field Tasman finished their inaugural season in 12th
spot with three of wins and in 2007 won two for 11th
spot. They were disappointing records, but there were signs of
on-field competitiveness - if the Union could just stay afloat.
2008, the Union's bankers, BNZ, advised that due to reneged loan
repayments, Lansdowne Park in Blenheim would need to be sold. It was
bought by the Marlborough District Council to ensure it remained a
recreational area and rugby ground for the region.
loss of Marlborough Rugby’s prized asset hurt many rugby supporters
in Marlborough who wanted out of the amalgamation.
survive the recently appointed Union CEO, Peter Barr, set about
cutting costs, including a self-imposed salary cap, a reduction in
contracted players from 55 to 28 and lowered funding for
the off-field turmoil, Tasman finished in 7th
spot on the back of four wins.
future grew even murkier when the NZRU announced a proposed reduction
in 2009 of the NPC from 14 teams to 12. Tasman was now under attack
from outside and within.
sent Barr, chairman Max Spence and coach Todd Blackadder to
Wellington to make a last-ditch plea to the NZ Rugby to save their
CEO Steve Tew took notice and the Makos were given a stay of
execution - with the proviso they sort out their infighting and their
NZR's deadline to prove themselves financially sound loomed, a rescue
package arrived from benefactors, later be revealed to be a
consortium of the Marlborough District Council, Nelson City, the
Crusaders and Nelson Pine Industries, a long-time commercial partner
of Nelson Bays and Tasman Rugby.
2009, on the back of financial difficulties for the smaller Unions
and pressure by the larger Unions, NZ Rugby again decided to reduce
the competition, this time to 10 teams. Tasman looked sure to be
outcry of public support for Tasman was highlighted by a "Save
the Mako" campaign, including presentation to a petition signed
by 14,000 supporters in Nelson and Marlborough keen on keeping their
team in the top division.
outpouring of support from fans in the smaller Unions persuaded Tew
and NZ Rugby to maintain the 14-team competition from 2010 onwards.
2009 Tasman won six matches to secure 9th
spot, and in 2010 the team secured 12th
spot with 4 wins.
was the lowest point for the Union with just two wins and a last
position on the table. There was now only one way for the team to go.
Simultaneously, on the back of a successful Rugby World Cup in NZ,
the Union received funds from NZ Rugby that finally put an end to the
Tasman Mako (2012 ~ current)
– the rise and rise of a new force.
coaches of the 2011 team, former All Blacks Kieran Keane and Leon
MacDonald, were both proud and fiercely competitive local rugby men. They
went to newly appointed CEO Andrew Flexman and demanded investment in
some quality players from outside the region to complement very
talented local players for the 2012 season.
established local players such as Robbie Malneek, Joe Wheeler,
Quentin MacDonald, Andrew Goodman, Shane Christie and Tom Marshall
were joined by exciting new talent like Liam Squire, Tim Perry, James
Lowe and Kieron Fonotia.
to the mix were experienced recruits such as Campbell Johnstone,
Bryce Heem, Tevita Cavubati and Peter Betham, plus a young Canterbury loan
player, Jordan Taufua.
team played attractive rugby and made the semi-finals of the
Championship division, losing to Otago but showing significant
promise for the future.
2013 many of these players, joined now by the likes of Marty Banks,
Billy Guyton and solid props Sila Puafisi and Siosiua Halanukonuka,
really hit their straps making the Championship Cup Final.
a big occasion at Trafalgar Park, Nelson the Tasman Mako prevailed
over Hawkes Bay to complete a rapid rise from the competition cellar
and earn promotion into the Premiership division.
under the leadership of CEO Tony Lewis, Tasman have made the Final in
2014, 2016 and 2017 and the semi-finals in 2015 and 2018.
The major competitive breakthrough for the Union came in December 2018 with the winning of the National Sevens Championship title in Taupo, and in October 2019 with the Tasman Mako being crowned the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership winners after an Undefeated 12 game season. The team was superbly captained by David Havili under the coaching helm of Andrew Goodman & Clarke Dermody, Shane Christie & Gray Cornelius.
team continues to capture the hearts and minds of fans locally, nationally and beyond, by playing an
adventurous brand of rugby.
performance has also been reflected in the numbers of Mako players
receiving Super contracts, consistently now at about 20 players per
season, and the numbers going on to earn higher representative
honours including All Blacks Sevens, Maori All Blacks and All Blacks
2016, seven players have played Test rugby for New Zealand – Liam
Squire (All Black # 1151), Kane Hames (# 1152), David Havili (#
1161), Tim Perry (# 1162), Atunaisa Moli (# 1168), Shannon Frizell (# 1172), Tyrel Lomax
of these achievements would be possible without a vast array of
financial support, from NZ Rugby, our Sponsors, Members and season
ticket purchasers, and our community trust fund and gaming fund
14 years of existence, the Tasman Rugby Union is successful and
innovative, aspiring to be a Top 4 national provincial Union, by any