Proudly Supporting Tasman Rugby


CEO Chat with Tony Lewis

The 13th Tasman Rugby Union AGM was held on Monday April 8 in Blenheim.

I thought that it would be appropriate to use the CEO Chat to acknowledge the 2018 year with the TRU Board report and inform all Stakeholders that Wayne Young was again elected for a two year term as the MRSU delegate; Scott Ford was elected as an independent for the next three years; and Tony Peacock was elected for a two year term as the NBRU delegate.

Mako Rugby junior coaching drills available online

The next two articles have been taken from the 2018 Annual Report

1. International Rugby in Tasman

“Well done to Nelson, to Tasman for putting on such a great week. It was a bold bid and bold move by New Zealand Rugby to let them have it. It came up trumps. The weather helped of course, but it worked because there was total engagement with the community. The food, the entertainment and the activities – the whole place was buzzing. It wasn’t just a footy test it was an event. From a personal point of view the best experience in New Zealand Rugby since the 2011 Rugby World Cup. One that has raised the bar [for] whose turn [it is] next.” 
Quote Tony Johnson Sky TV commentator and presented Rugby Reunion

Tasman Rugby Union was creating New Zealand’s first “pop-up test stadium”, as not only the seating but most other infrastructure would need to be brought in.

The spectacle of a full house at these world-wide televised moments, was richly satisfying and a culmination of almost two years of massive endeavour by all those involved.

The test itself was a cracker; played on a brand-new world-class turf surface, with a man of the match performance by local Tasman Mako player, Shannon Frizell.

For a day and a night on Saturday 8 September 2018, Nelson City shone brightly on the world stage, and our region’s rugby fans experienced a glorious test match occasion at the birthplace of rugby in New Zealand.


  • Nelson City Council – significant underwriters of the event, contributed to re-turfing of Trafalgar Park and provision of free buses from Richmond and Tahunanui on match day.
  • Tasman District Council – contribution to seat hire costs.
  • Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) – City activation including fan trail, the Match Day app in partnership with Nelson Weekly and much more.
  • Port Nelson, CEL and shipping partners ANL & Pacifica – shipping and transportation of 14,000 temporary seats to and from Trafalgar Park.
  • Personal Underwriters – Shane Drummond, Paul Jensen and Mike Fraser who ensured NZR would have nothing to lose.
  • New Zealand Rugby and Tasman Rugby Union staff who ensured all fans had a mainly hassle-free and enjoyable experience.
  • The rugby public. 

2. Tasman Rugby Union 2018 Annual Report

On behalf of the Tasman Rugby Union Board and management it is our privilege to present to you the 13th Annual Report.

The 2018 season will be remembered for the superb efforts on the national selection stage from New Zealand representatives to Commonwealth Games gold to holding an All Black test match in the region. 

The Mako team had several representatives in the All Black 2018 squad. Liam Squire, Kane Hames (injured), Tim Perry, Jordan Taufua, Tyrel Lomax, Wyatt Crockett and David Havilli. Our national representations extended throughout all levels of rugby in Tasman. We had three (3) players selected in the Maori All Black Tour, Tyrel Lomax, Pari Pari Parkinson and Issac Salmon; three (3) players selected in the All Black Sevens team Tone Ng Shiu, Andrew Knewstubb and Trael Joass; Jess Drummond in the All Black Sevens female squad; Leicester Faingaanuku, Will Jordan (withdrew) and Jamie Spowart selected in the All Black Under 20 squad and finally Anton Senger who was the star of the New Zealand Schools rugby win against Australia.

The Tasman Mako team made the semi-final of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership for the fifth time in five years, which is an incredible achievement. The team made a superb start to the 2018 season with a pre-season game in Rai Valley as the coaches bedded in the Super Rugby players back into the Mako professional environment. The highlight was only losing one game in the round robin and that was to the eventual winner, Auckland. The Mako had superb victories and performances against Canterbury, Wellington, Otago and North Harbour being highlights. We finished second on the ladder.

The semi-final loss against Canterbury was very disappointing. It was a fantastic game and we dominated the first half. Unfortunately we didn’t score enough points and several bizarre incidents resulted in the team only having 17% possession for the second half. Again, it illustrates the work within the Crusader region to have two of the best provincial teams in New Zealand. 

The entry of the Tasman Mako female squad into the Farah Palmer Cup in 2017 was a real highlight for rugby within the region. The female talent within the region now have a clear pathway to national honours. The team is to be congratulated on securing their first up victory against Taranaki. Unfortunately the season fell away after that match, whilst there were promising periods of rugby, they did not win another game. While participating in the Farah Palmer Cup reaffirmed that women’s rugby had arrived in the Tasman region it is now the responsibility of these players to start the hard work in preparation for the 2019 season. The time for talk is over and the need to develop a solid work ethic is the next goal to progress. 

The Tasman Rugby Union Board and staff worked hard on several governance and operational issues in 2018.

  1. The adoption of new constitutions within Tasman, Nelson Bays and Marlborough.
  2. Introduction of the Council of Delegates in Marlborough rugby.
  3. Superb, responsible, tight and prudent management of the financial accounts in what has been a difficult year on the income front.
  4. The first All Black test match in the region.
  5. The introduction of the coach education model for JAB rugby.
  6. The community rugby review which will set the strategy for 2019 and beyond.
  7. Successful nomination and election of Michael Jones on the New Zealand Rugby Board.
  8. Successful nomination and election of Tasman Rugby Union Director, Scott Ford to the Crusaders Board.

The financial support the team receives from businesses in Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman and beyond, through sponsorship and Mako 500 Club membership, is critical to our success. The Tasman staff and team are greatly appreciative of this support from all our financial contributors.

It is our family of sponsors, both large and small, that make fielding teams in the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup financially possible. To you all; thank you very much.

Our sincere gratitude goes to our brand sponsors who are the backbone of the union – principal sponsor Golden Edge, major sponsor NBS along with AICA, Nelson Forests, Gibbons Holdings, Johnston Associates South, Turf Hotel, BLK, The Car Company, Wadsco Motorworld, Speights and Yealands Wines. 

Thanks to the continued generosity of all our sponsors, and the 200 businesses who are members of the Mako 500 Club, the 2018 commercial and marketing budget was met. 

In 2019 we look forward to growing the general sponsorship and Mako 500 Club membership base, and retaining those supporters who bought season tickets for the All Black test, providing an enjoyable and engaging rugby experience for all. 

Finally, the Tasman Rugby Union Board would like to thank our trust funding partners. This is a vital and critical source of income for the community game of rugby. Partners that include Mainland Foundation, Lion Foundation, Rata Foundation, Pub Charity, NZCT, Redwood Trust, Pelorus Trust and Air Rescue provide funds that assist the community rugby and development programmes in Tasman region at clubs, schools and JAB level. The support given to Tasman Rugby Union is welcome, needed, appreciated and used wisely with the best interests of the rugby community at heart. 

The Tasman Rugby Union board would like to acknowledge the support of our key stakeholders who have been terrific partners in another successful season for Tasman Rugby. 

It would be remiss of the board not to acknowledge the incredible support of New Zealand Rugby including their CEO, staff, and board, for the high level of financial and advisory support provided to us. Our thanks go to NZR for their funding of rugby in our region. 

The Tasman Union staff again delivered all programmes, competitions and administration tasks in a professional and dedicated way. The workload in a small union can become intense and demanding at times, but the staff’s appetite for arduous work was never in question throughout the season. We look forward to some innovative plans that Community Rugby under the direction of Kahu Marfell and Steve Mitchell will be delivering in 2019 to ensure our vision of growing the game of rugby is to the fore in our core roles. 

Finally, as the curtain draws closed on another successful rugby season we can hold our heads up high and say the board’s vision of being a Top 4 Provincial Union holds strong by any criteria, and we look forward to growing the game of rugby in Tasman. In 2019 the goal of the group is to win the National Provincial Championship and make a significant impact in the community rugby space. 

Tasman Rugby Board 2018

Tony Lewis