This year has been one of the busiest ever years for the club starting with our own Barbarians Provincial team preforming outstandingly well in Whangarei for the opening match of the Lions tour, then the Blues’ victory at Eden Park followed by the ups and downs of the test series with a few dinners and reunions thrown in along the way for good measure and culminating in our involvement with the Top 4 schools tournament, the NZ Barbarians Schools team and NZ Barbarians Area Schools teams playing in early October. Events such as the Lions game come along once in a generation and, as we all know, are the culmination of many years of hard work and perseverance from a few within the club.
The main features of the 2017 year are summarised below.
NZ Barbarians Provincial XV v British and Irish Lions
This game was held in Whangarei on June 3 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 New Zealand Rugby.
Mike Mills has been involved with much of the organisation and planning for this game over a long period of time and deserves special mention, as do Bryan Williams, John Mills and John Cresswell who helped lay the groundwork in previous years for securing this fixture.
It was our first ever international fixture on New Zealand soil and the team was made up of a group of young men from the Mitre 10 Cup and Heartland Championship provinces, who all stood up and grasped their opportunity with both hands to come close to pulling off an historic victory over the Lions. Each player wore their own provincial socks and there were 14 different pairs of socks out there on the field, which was a great sight to see.
The people of Northland got in behind the game and the coaching and management group for the Barbarians, led by head coach Clayton McMillan from BOP and manager Chris Back from Wanganui, did a wonderful job. Our club was well represented in Whangarei by a large group of members, spearheaded by our patron Bryan Williams and our Vice-President Alan Whetton, who presented the team with their jerseys and player ties the night before the game and spoke to the team reinforcing our club history, the traditions and spirit of the Barbarian way.
A few of us had the opportunity to catch up with players after the game in the changing sheds and it was wonderful to see how much this group had developed in just a week together and good to see them enjoy the occasion with the satisfaction of a job well done. It was a memorable occasion and a special weekend for this club.
We can be extremely grateful to NZ Rugby for its work putting this match together. It was a very well planned and organised exercise by NZ Rugby and a thank you must be given to NZ Rugby Chairman Brent Impey, CEO Steve Tew and Director of Strategy Nigel Cass and their dedicated staff, particularly Kate McLennan, Tangi Waikari and Matt Sexton for the work they put in and the support they gave our club for this game
Also, our sincere appreciation to club member Peter Thompson of Barfoot and Thompson for his support and sponsorship of the Barbarians team.
Rugby Ties dinner
On Thursday July 6 prior to the final test match at Eden Park, we held our Rugby Ties dinner at the ANZ Events Centre.
The idea for this dinner was to celebrate our rugby ties, have some fun as part of the build-up to the third test of the Lions tour, and raise some funds for our club as well as our charity partners, the New Zealand Rugby Foundation and Spirit of Adventure Trust
The night was MCd by James McOnie and Barbarian Melodie Robinson with special guest panellists club members Sir Graham Henry, Sean Fitzpatrick, Stu Wilson, Gavin Hastings, our patron Beegee Williams and former Lions flanker Richard Hill.
Sponsors for the evening included Barfoot & Thompson, Heineken and Pernod Richard
It was a memorable occasion and great to listen to the stories of the panellists on the games of old and their views on the Lions series. A very good rendition of Tu Tira Mai by Beegee was followed by a Scottish ballad by Gavin Hastings!
Despite not quite getting the numbers to the dinner, we broke even and were able to raise funds for each of our charity partners through the auctions that we held on the night.
A big thank you to club member Simon Johnston for all his hard work and efforts organising the dinner.
Fun Day and primary school rugby
We ran our 28th primary schools fun day on Sunday June 25, which was a good day despite some rough weather and was well attended by 36 primary schools and many of our Barbarians members. Special thanks to Roger Moore, Terry O Meara, Craig Glendinning, Michael Speight and Graeme Halse for their help putting the day together and all the other Barbarians that turned up to help on the day.
Special thanks also to Jarrod Syman from the Auckland Rugby Union for his contribution once again into the organisation of the day and to the ARU for its support.
Once again, we are grateful to the Royal New Zealand Navy for the use of its grounds and facilities, Richard Fry and the Blues for attending the day, principal sponsor Peter Thompson and Barfoot & Thompson, Colin Davis and Onsite Caterers for providing the BBQ supplies and equipment, Nestle/Milo for providing the free drinks, and the Auckland Rugby Referees’ Association for providing the referees. Without the support of these people and organisations, the day would not be the success that it is.
Secondary school rugby
NZ Barbarians Area Schools
With initial plans to attend a player development camp at the Massey University Institute of Sport in Palmerston North not eventuating, a camp was organised through the Canterbury Rugby Union, the side playing two matches in a five-day period.
The team played the first of its two games against North Canterbury Secondary Schools on Tuesday September 26, winning 33-22. Club member Richard Loe presented the jerseys and talked to the boys about how they have all come from humble country backgrounds and then talked about the opportunities that can become available if they are prepared to work hard.
The next game on Saturday September 30 was against the Canterbury Country Under 18 team. The Barbarians were right in the game with 10 minutes to go but the Canterbury team, with better combinations and fitness, told in the end and it came away victors 38-22. Despite the result, the coaches were very pleased with how the Barbarian team played. Club member Warwick Taylor attended the team photo, presented the jerseys and was very impressed with the way the team performed after such a short time together.
We are extremely thankful to the Canterbury Rugby Union and the Crusaders organisation for their support of the team.
Convenor of the NZ Barbarians Area Schools team and club member Mike Smith commented that the behaviour of the boys was exemplary and the rugby experience fantastic for the group. It was great to see these boys playing against opposition in their own age group.
“These boys do not have the opportunity or honour of playing for their school First XVs because of the size of their schools. Invariably, they play for their local senior club side, with and against mature adults. Some do not play regular Saturday rugby at all”.
He was also commented that “Canterbury Rugby were great hosts and keen to have us again next year if possible. Thanks again to the Barbarians for making this possible for these boys from the remote parts of New Zealand”.
We, in turn, thank Mike Smith and Marie Relph for their hard work organising the camp and their dedication and commitment to the NZ Barbarians Area Schools team.
National Top 4 tournament
The National secondary schools Top 4 tournament was held in Palmerston North from September 8-10 at the Institute of Sport on Massey University campus, an excellent venue with first-class facilities that capture the history of New Zealand rugby. This year, for the first time, the girls’ schools First XV Top 4 finals were played alongside the boys’ and co-ed schools and it was a real success adding to the excitement and atmosphere of the Top 4 tournament and making it more appealing and more interesting than ever for players and spectators alike. The tournament was attended by myself, club captain Mark Moore and committee members Roger Moore and Dylan Mika.
Results were as follows:
2017 New Zealand Barbarians National First XV Championship for the Barbarians Cup
Final: Hastings Boys’ High School 25 Hamilton BHS 17 (15-14 Hastings BHS at halftime)
2017 New Zealand Co-Educational First XV Championship for the Barbarians Trophy
Final: St Peter’s School (Cambridge) 31 Feilding HS 3 (17-3 St Peter’s at halftime)
2017 National Girls’ First XV Championship
Final: St Mary’s College (Wellington) 29 Hamilton GHS 12
Following discussions and agreement with the NZ Secondary Schools Rugby Union Council, we have agreed to include the National Girls First XV Championship as part our sponsorship for this event from 2018, taking our overall sponsorship commitment for the Top 4 tournament to $40,000 per annum (previously it was $30,000 per annum).
NZ Barbarians Schools team
Following the Top 4 tournament, 50 players where selected to participate in a coaching and development camp, staying at the Institute of Sport at Massey University.
At the end of the week-long camp, the NZ Schools and NZ Barbarians Schools teams were announced and the Barbarians team stayed on at the Institute of Sport setting up camp for their two games against Tonga Schools and NZ Maori Under18.
Prior to the match against Tonga Schools, Dylan Mika and I attended a team dinner and made the jersey presentations and the team responded with a stirring haka and a welcome speech. It was evident the team had come together very well and they were fortunate to have such wonderful coaching and management group looking after them led by head coach Brad Mooar, the current Crusaders assistant coach, and forwards coach Sam Moore, deputy headmaster of New Plymouth BHS and manager Cam Kilgour. Once again, Tangi Waikari and Matt Sexton from NZ Rugby were in the background helping with the organisation of this campaign.
On Thursday September 28, the NZ Barbarians Schools beat Tonga Schools 33-19. It was a tough, bruising game with some huge tackles made on both sides. Our Barbarians team played well and maybe tried a bit too hard at times. Tonga were good running ball in close and tough to stop. They never gave up and played their hearts out.
On Monday October 2, Neil Cullimore and I journeyed down to Palmerston North to watch the NZ Barbarians Schools team play NZ Maori U18.
The Maori team was drawn from schools and clubs around the country and several boys that just missed NZ Schools and our own Barbarians Schools team made this team.
Both teams started off with stirring haka and NZ Maori scored first. The game was played in strong cross-wind conditions which made for a difficult time for both teams.
The Barbarians struck back and looked the more organised team but the Maori team just would not give in and kept fighting back. The Barbarians got up 28-12 with 12 minutes to go, then had a player put in the sinbin and the Maori team clawed their way back to within four points a tough battle with the NZ Barbarians Schools team coming out victors in the end 28-24.
We finished the day with an after-match function with the teams, their coaches and management groups plus families and supporters. The Maori team did a waiata and a haka and both teams exchanged gifts it was a real privilege for Neil and I to be there and both teams expressed their gratitude for the support of the NZ Barbarians.
Following this, the Barbarians moved to their team room where we thanked them, presented ties and in turn got presented with a signed banner once again the players and their parents all expressed their thanks to us for the support of the NZ Barbarians club.
They were a fine bunch of young men and a very good coaching/ management group under head coach Brad Mooar and manager Cam Kilgour we left feeling very humbled and also grateful to be part of our club, which is seen in such a positive light by so many people
Both Neil and I agreed that, going forward, we should work hard to keep promoting the NZ Barbarians Schools vs NZ Maori U18 format as it is very good for NZ Rugby, promotes another group of young players into the high performance environment, and resonates well with our club, our history and our connections to Maori rugby.
All Blacks and Black Ferns rugby
New Zealand restored its supremacy in women’s rugby by relieving England of the Rugby World Cup by 41-32 in the final on August 27 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Black Ferns came from 12 points down in a grinding first half to win comfortably in the end by nine. They scored seven tries in their hard-fought victory with fullback Selica Winiata scoring a double and prop Toka Natua a triple. The latter was named player of the match.
More than ever the profile of women’s rugby has taken a huge step forward and the media coverage and interest in the progress of the Black Ferns through the World Cup tournament was the best it has ever been and thoroughly deserved.
The All Blacks’ year got off to a stuttering start with a drawn series against the Lions. They certainly had their opportunities to win the series in the third test but struggled with injuries to key players and a Lions defence that never gave in and deserved the draw.
There was a definite shift in gear in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup coupled with the introduction of another exciting crop of new players donning the black jersey. In the final game of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia showed it will be a force to be reckoned with come next year with a vastly improved performance to get their first win against the All Blacks in two years. The standout for the All Blacks was young Rieko Ioane at wing, a wonderful comeback by Nepo Laulala at prop and Sonny Bill Williams in the centres after an indifferent start to the year but came into his own in the later tests.
World Masters Games
Auckland played host to this fantastic event over two weeks and a few of our members took part in various sports.
Club members Roger Whatman, Bernie Allen and patron Bryan Williams competed in bowls with Bryan also taking to the golf course, Mark Moore put on his boots for touch and we had a Barbarians team compete in the Masters rugby division, making the final and eventually losing to a star-studded Auckland side 10-7. Many thanks to Grant Straker from the Ponsonby Rugby Club for organising this team.
We inducted into the club a number of new members and congratulations to them.
We had a very good new member induction night 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.
In early February we had a group participate again at the annual Peter Johnstone Memorial tournament in Mt Maunganui.
Organised by Peter Tubberty, our team got its first ever win and went on to take three games, a record for this group. There was plenty of fun and everyone enjoyed each other’s company and the camaraderie of the tournament immensely. Members there included Dean Paddy, Peter Tubberty, Bryan Williams, Mark Moore, Keith Nelson, Bill Currie, and Roger Whatman. Following this the Pat Walsh Memorial Bowls Day, organised by Peter Tubberty, Barrie Thomas and Mark Walsh, was held on Sunday March 26. It was another very good day, with many of our members in attendance.
A group under the guidance of John Cresswell and Noeline Walsh worked hard behind the scenes to upgrade the jersey and memorabilia displays in time for the Lions tour and we sincerely thank them for their great work.
Clubrooms and boxes
The clubrooms and boxes have been well utilised for many events over and above our match-day functions including the NRL Nines, and one-day cricket matches, as well as hosting events for other worthy organisations our members are involved with such as the Decision Outreach Trust and New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association.
Dylan Mika did an excellent job managing the boxes and arrangements for the NRL Nines and cricket.
The NZRPA used the clubrooms during the year as its temporary office premises while it considered relocation options, paying us a monthly rental as part of the arrangement.
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 has 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 ongoing contribution of club member Peter Thompson (Barfoot and Thompson) who continues to support our programmes, particularly the primary schools Fun Day, the NZ Provincial Barbarians team, our Rugby Ties dinner and our golf day. We are also extremely grateful for the support of the Four Winds Foundation and North South Trust for their support of our initiatives.
Club member Simon Johnston has once again been instrumental in helping to manage and initiate our sponsorship arrangements in 2017 and we sincerely thank him for the amount of time and effort he has put in over this past year.
Our new patron, Bryan Williams, was appointed at our 2016 AGM, and has carried on where he left off as President, actively participating in all of our club activities. I cannot thank him enough for his unwavering support and wise counsel during my time as president.
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, particularly Roger Moore, Alex Bing and Terry O Meara.
I would like to thank our committee for its hard work and support throughout the year.
Once again, I have been particularly grateful for the guidance 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 our activities this year, as has our vice-president Alan Whetton, who did a wonderful job setting the scene for the NZ Barbarians Provincial XV at the jersey presentations before the match.
Club captain Mark Moore and treasurer Grant McCurrach have once again been great contributors and I would also like to make special mention of Jordan Tuala of Crowe Horwath who has 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 team have been in place.
Dylan Mika has become our Top 4 and secondary schools liaison person and, as he always does, has handled matters with his trademark efficiency and organisation as well as assisting John Mills with custodial arrangements for the boxes and helping with the house functions. Dylan’s management of the boxes for the NRL Nines and cricket saw us greatly exceed expectations for tickets sales and returns for the boxes over this period.
Our secretary Ken Baguley has once done a fine job in what has been one of the busiest years in the club’s history
Thanks also to Michael Speight as our house committee member, supporting Trina in her role as club manager. Richard Turner was involved with the NZ Barbarians Area Schools programme and is already working on arrangements for next year.
Kevin Senio looked after past player liaison and the NZRPA tenancy arrangements and is getting more involved in the workings of the club.
This year sees the retirement of committee member Mike Mills and club captain Mark Moore. Both are wonderful men who have served the club so well over such a long period of time.
Mike Mills has served as a committee member, club captain, president, past President and then returned as a committee member primarily to assist with the Lions tour preparations and our game against them. His energy, positive attitude, attention to detail and hard work will be sorely missed and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for the club over so many years.
Mark Moore has been club captain over the past six years and a more hard-working enthusiastic person you could not find. He has helped with arrangements for our games, our Fun Days, and any other event the club has been involved with. Always first to put his hand up to help, he is a man you can trust to get the job done and he too will be sorely missed. I thank him sincerely for his service to the club over many years.
The club has been the busiest it has ever been, starting back in February with the NRL Nines, and we have been very fortunate to have had such a dedicated team looking after us.
The time of the Lions tour was challenging and the club was at full capacity at times with some of the highest turnover nights we have ever had.
Our club manager Trina Seits has done a great job managing things and has continued the good work of previous years. As well as overseeing the bar, she has looked after clothing sales, function arrangements and the general day to day running of the club. We owe her and her team of Mereana, Kate, Ali and Dennis a debt of gratitude for their service to the club, our members and our visitors.
In closing, I thank you all for your support throughout the past two years. It has been an honour and privilege to serve you as president and a very humbling experience to be part of such a special group as this.
Go well, look forward to 2018 and best wishes for Xmas and the New Year to you and your families.
New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Clu