This year has been an eventful year for our club and one in which we have carried on the momentum from previous years in many of our activities.
As always, we have had our primary objective in mind which is “promoting amateur rugby for the recreation or entertainment of the general public. In so doing, it shall have regard to the development of youth through the sport of rugby for the benefit of the community at large”.
The main features of the 2016 year are summarised below:
Fun day and primary school rugby
On Sunday June?19 we held our annual primary schools’Fun Day at Ngataringa Bay. In its 27th year, we had over 600 children attend the day plus teachers and supporters. It was a very successful event and was once again sponsored by club member Peter Thompson of Barfoot & Thompson.
The Blues squad turned out in force and made a big contribution to the day, engaging with everyone and touching the hearts and minds of all those children and parents who attended.
Special thanks to Jarrad Syman from the Auckland Rugby Union for his contribution to the organisation of the day and to the ARU for their support. Also from within the club, Terry O’Meara, Roger Moore, Michael Speight, Craig Glendinning and John Bell all helped organise the day and co-ordinate the arrangements with the Barbarians in the schools.
Once again we are grateful to the Royal New Zealand Navy for the use of their grounds and facilities, Richard Fry and the Blues for being on hand during the day, Barfoot & Thompson, Colin Davis and Onsite Caterers for providing the BBQ supplies and equipment, Nestle/Milo for providing the free Milo drinks, and the Auckland Rugby Referees’ Association for providing the match been the success that it was.
The following week, in conjunction with Northland Rugby, we arranged for the Blues to visit?four Whangarei primary schools. These visits were also sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson and again the Blues players showed their positive, enthusiastic attitude and gave the children, teachers and parents at these schools a great experience.
Secondary school rugby
The NZ Barbarians Area Schools team played the Harlequins in Hamilton in early September under the guidance of Barbarians club member Mike Smith, who has been the driving force behind this team for past the few years.
This team is drawn from the outlying district schools around the country. Club vice-president Alan Whetton met with the team on game day, presented their jerseys and came away really impressed by the young men he met.
Supporting grassroots youth rugby in rural New Zealand is something that is dear to our hearts and we are committed to supporting this initiative and developing a sustainable programme for the future with Mike Smith and the NZ Area Schools group.
The national secondary schools Top 4 tournament was held in Palmerston North in early September at the Institute of Sport on the Massey University campus, an excellent venue with first-class facilities that capture the history of NZ Rugby.
Mount Albert Grammar School played Hastings Boys’ High School in a tight final, with MAGS eventually coming out victors 14-13 to win the Barbarian Cup and finishing off a highly successful year.
In the co-ed final, Feilding High School overcame Aorere College in another tough battle to take out the Barbarian Shield. It was a great tournament that continues to showcase the best of college rugby in New Zealand and it is something we are extremely proud to sponsor and be part of.
Following this, the NZ Secondary Schools and NZ Barbarian Schools teams were announced and assembled in Auckland in late September for their quadrangular tournament with Australian Schools and Fiji Schools.
The NZ Barbarians Schools team won both their games, first off against Australian Schools, where they dominated the lineouts and scrums and tackled their hearts out and next against a very physical Fiji Schools, thus extending their unbeaten record of the past four years against international teams. It was wonderful to watch these young men play and embrace the ethos of our club as well as see another 25 players from this group move forward as part of the NZ Rugby high performance programme.
Coaches Ryan Martin and Sam Moore did a fine job with the team and special mention should be made of manager Chris Metcalfe, who made sure these young men fully embraced our Barbarian culture. Roger Moore, our Barbarians liaison officer for the team, as always worked away diligently in the background to ensure the team and its management were well looked after.
The NZ Barbarians Schools team visited our clubrooms immediately after the teams’ announcement, which very quickly took them to a place and an environment that made them feel special and connected. I am sure being part of our Barbarian culture really galvanised and shaped this team over the course of the week they were together which showed in the way they played.
Following their visit to the clubrooms, Chris Metcalfe presented a 2015 NZ Barbarians Schools jersey to the club as well as a special presentation of a team ‘sculpture’, with a greenstone pendant which had been signed by every member of the 2015 team and management.
During the tournament week, we also hosted the coaches, managers and officials for each team plus the board of Australian Schools, Fijian Schools and the NZSSRU council in our clubrooms.
Lions tour 2017
Early this year, our club was invited by the NZRU to provide the opposition to the British and Irish Lions for the opening match of their 2017 tour to New Zealand, which we duly accepted.
The game will be held in Whangarei on June 3, 2017 and was the result of the hard work of a group within the club who have toiled over many years behind the scenes to keep our name at the forefront with NZ Rugby.
It will be our first ever international fixture against the Lions on New Zealand soil and the team will be called the NZ Provincial Barbarians. The team will be selected from the Mitre 10 Cup and Heartland teams and will give the opportunity for our best provincial players from around the country to take the field against one of the world’s most famous touring sides. A special jersey will be struck for this game and we are planning a few activities that will coincide with this match and the Lions tour. This game will be a real highlight for our club and recognises our continued involvement in the development of amateur rugby, particularly at schoolboy level over many years.
Mike Mills, in particular, has been involved with much of the organisation and planning for this game and deserves special mention, as does Bryan Williams, John Mills and John Cresswell, who helped lay the groundwork in previous years for securing this fixture.
British Barbarians relationship
Through the work of Bryan Williams, Neil Cullimore and Rob Fisher, we now have in place a formal agreement with the British Barbarians that sets out the basic terms of our relationship with them and allows us the use of the Barbarian name in perpetuity.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank Earl Grey of Simpson Grierson for his contribution to the formulation of this agreement.
Sevens, All Blacks and Black Ferns rugby
It was wonderful to see our New Zealand Women’s Sevens team take our first ever Olympic rugby medal it was inspirational and they played exceptionally well to win the?silver medal and stake their place in our rugby history.
Unfortunately, things didn’t seem to go their way for the men’s sevens team? right from the outset they battled, however it was amazing for Fiji to take the gold in such a commanding way and win their nation’s first ever Olympic medal. It all made great viewing and put rugby on the world stage in a way that had never been done before.
On October 22, many of us were here at Eden Park to see the All Blacks break the record for unbeaten tests for a tier one nation. It was an outstanding achievement and this team continues to go from strength to strength something which Steve Hansen and his coaching and selection group must be enormously proud of. On the same day at Eden Park, it was also great to see our Black Ferns team kick off their international season on such a high note, convincingly beating Australia with a record-equalling win. Later that week, they again beat the Wallaroos to take out the Laurie O’Reilly Cup for the series win.
We inducted into the club a number of new members (44) and congratulations to them. We had two very good new member induction nights, which highlighted to us what a special group of people we have within the club all with their own story to tell and all linked by a common bond of rugby.
We contributed toward costs associated with a match between an Auckland U85kg team and a Wellington U85kg team played in September for the Ladore Trophy – a special cup provided by our club.
In February, we had a group participate at the 24th annual Peter Johnstone Memorial tournament in Mt Maunganui.
Organised by Peter Tubberty, our team had mixed results but lots of fun and enjoyed each other’s company and the camaraderie of the tournament immensely. Following this, the Pat Walsh Memorial Bowls Day, organised by Peter Tubberty, Barrie Thomas and Mark Walsh, was held in early April. It was another very good day, with many of our members in attendance.
A group under the guidance of John Cresswell and Noeline Walsh have been working behind the scenes to upgrade the jersey and memorabilia displays in time for the Lions tour next year.
Roger Moore managed a major restoration of the large red book at the club and three other historical books, using the services of Spiral Path Books, at a cost of $2500. These initiatives have been funded from the $5600 donated to our restoration project by members in addition to their subscriptions at the beginning of the year.
The clubrooms have been well utilised for many events over and above our match-day functions, including the NRL Nines, one-day cricket matches, the Joseph Parker fight night and for hosting events for other worthy organisations our members are involved with, such as the Decision Outreach Trust and New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association.
On Wednesday May 11, we held an ‘Extraordinary General Meeting’, at which our new rules (formerly known as the constitution) were adopted and the club became officially the ‘New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Club’. Work on the new rules, which is an updated version of our old constitution, has taken place over many years and is the result of significant contributions by a few of our members, including Mike Donovan, Neil Cullimore, Alan Montgomery, John Mills, Bryan Williams and John Cresswell early on and then latterly Neil Cullimore once again, Bernie Allen and Ken Baguley. It was a momentous occasion for the club and provides a solid platform for us to operate from into the future.
Protected capital fund
Following the adoption of the new rules, the ‘Protected Capital Fund’ has been established under the management of five custodians – Ken Eglinton (chairman), John Mills, Phil Lindesay, Neil Cullimore and Grant McCurrach. NZ First Capital have been appointed by the committee via the recommendation of the custodians to be the fund managers of our protected capital fund and an amount of $1 million has been transferred to NZ First Capital for investment in a conservative/balanced portfolio.
Special mention must be made of the contribution of Peter Thompson and Barfoot and Thompson who continue to support our programmes, particularly the fun days and the primary school visits. Also, we are extremely grateful for the support of the Four Winds Foundation, Infinity Foundation, New Zealand Community Trust, North South Trust and NZ Post (Community Post) for their support of our initiatives.
Club member Simon Johnston has been instrumental in helping to manage and initiate our sponsorship arrangements in 2016, and we sincerely thank him for the amount of time and effort he has put in over this past year.
In May, our patron of over 25 years and life member Bob Sorenson passed away. A real servant to the game, Bob gave over 60 years of marvellous service to this club. He was a gentleman, and a character, and his presence will be sorely missed
Under the guidance of John Mills, the group of members who have done custodial duties on match days and at the various functions have once again done us proud, and I thank them for their efforts.
I would like to thank our committee for their hard work and support throughout the year.
I have been particularly grateful for the wise counsel of Bryan Williams, Neil Cullimore and Mike Mills. We are extremely fortunate that these men continue to serve our club and they have been at the forefront in almost all of our activities this year.
Club captain Mark Moore and Treasurer Grant McCurrach have once again been valued contributors and I would also like to thank Peter van der Heijden, Jordan Tuala and Glenda Watson of Crowe Horvath who have provided excellent back-up to Grant to ensure our financial management and reporting is timely and accurate.
Roger Moore, as always, has worked tirelessly in the background, ensuring arrangements for many of our initiatives such as the Fun Day and NZ Barbarians Schools teams have been in place.
Dylan Mika provided admirable back-up to Mike Mills for the Top 4 and secondary schools arrangements, as well as assisting John Mills with custodial arrangements for the boxes and helping out with the house functions from time to time.
Our secretary Ken Baguley has done a fine job in what has been a demanding and busy year.
Dean Paddy, as always, has worked tirelessly for the club, both as a committee member and as our house manager. This role has got busier and more demanding as we take on more activities and have more functions and we are extremely grateful for the wonderful support given by Trina Seits and Mereana Wynyard to Dean in relation to the running of the house and bar.
The club has been particularly busy this year, starting back in February with the NRL Nines, and we have been very fortunate to have had such a dedicated team looking after us.
Under the leadership of Dean, our house team consisting of Trina Seits, Mereana Wynyard, Kevin Way, Bryan Craies, Kate, and Ali has been exceptional, always ensuring the occasion is well managed and that our guests are well looked after.
Dean Paddy has now decided to pass the baton of house manager on after over 20 years of service to the club, both at the old house and at our new clubrooms. He has been a member of this club since 1972 and his devotion to it and compassion for our members has been an inspiration for all of us. His retirement as house manager signals the end of an era for us – he has been a constant through all my time at the Barbarians and his presence has always been such a positive and uplifting experience. We all have enormous respect for Dean and cannot thank him enough for all he has done for our club.
In closing, I thank you all for your support throughout the year – it has been a busy year and one in which much groundwork has been laid for the years to come.?
Look forward to 2017 and best wishes for Xmas and the New Year.?
New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Club