April 16 - 1892 NZ Rugby Football Union established

With the growth of rugby in New Zealand in the 1880s-1890s the need for a governing body was felt by some. In 1891 E D Hoben, secretary of the Hawkes Bay union, toured the country promoting the idea. A meeting in Wellington in November at which a constitution was prepared for examination by the provincial unions followed. Then, in April 1892 a further meeting of union delegates took the next step.

“The New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded this year. When the founder, Mr. E. D. Hoben, had toured the country with his proposals in 1891 Otago Union only was opposed to a central Union, but when the time came for the second meeting of delegates it was noted that Canterbury and Southland Unions, too, had joined in the opposition to a change of control. However, with the exception of the three southern Unions mentioned, the desire for a New Zealand Union was such that no difficulty was occasioned in its formation when the delegates met again on April 16. This inaugural meeting was held at the Club Hotel, Wellington, commencing at 7.30 p.m., the following being the official minutes: —

“Present— Messrs. G. F. C. Campbell (Wellington), H. Haliday (Auckland), E. D. Hoben (Hawke’s Bay), W. D. Milne (Otago), T. S. Marshall (Canterbury), G. Newth (Manawatu), B. Ginders (Wairarapa), and T. S. Ronaldson (Taranaki). On the motion of

Mr. Hoben, seconded by Mr. Newth, Mr. Campbell was appointed Chairman. Minutes of the previous Conference, held on 7th

November, 1891, were read and confirmed.

“Communications were received from Marlborough and Nelson Unions giving in their allegiance to the movement for the formation of a New Zealand Union, and appointing delegates who were prevented from attending. The Wanganui and South Canterbury Unions had also approved the proposal, but were not represented. The Southland Union wrote that they were not prepared at present to join the new Union, as the general idea in Invercargill was that owing to the distance from the seat of the Union they would rarely be represented at the meetings except by proxy.

“The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, hoped that the three southern Unions which at present stood out would see their way to come in and make the movement unanimous. He thought that as Wellington was an easily approachable centre through which people from all parts of the Colony were pouring daily, there would be no difficulty in distant Unions being represented at meetings, and the geographical objection was not felt in similar bodies affecting Rowing and Athletics. There was certainly need for a supreme football Court of Appeal in the Colony, and a body sufficiently strong to settle any disputes which might arise. He thought the objections of the Otago and Canterbury Unions were based on the proposed constitution, and he considered that this might be amended so as to meet their views.

“Mr. Hoben moved, ‘That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable that a New Zealand Rugby Union should be formed.’ He explained that in accordance with a resolution adopted at the last Conference, he had had copies of the minutes of the Conference and the constitution then drawn up for submission to the Unions, printed and forwarded to every Union in the Colony. The matter had then been allowed to rest until the Unions had time to hold their Annual Meetings, and the Unions of Auckland, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wanganui, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson and South Canterbury had announced their intention of joining the New Zealand Union when formed. Canterbury, Otago, and Southland had decided not to join at present, the former reversing a previous decision of approval. Mr. Haliday seconded the motion.




“The motion was carried, Messrs. Milne and Marshall alone dissenting. These gentlemen then withdrew, and the delegates resolved themselves into the first meeting of THE NEW ZEALAND UNION, Mr. L. Coupland acting with Mr. Haliday for Auckland.

“Rules for the new Union were considered and adopted.

On the motion of Mr. Haliday it was decided to recommend and offer as a suggestion to affiliated Unions that in the case of inter-Union matches a referee should be procured from a non-interested district, should either team desire it, the team receiving the gate money to pay his travelling expenses.

“It was decided to forward copies of rules and minutes to all Unions.

“The following officers were elected: — Honorary Secretary, Mr. E. D. Hoben; Honorary Treasurer, Mr. L. Coupland; Appeal Committee, Messrs F. Logan (Hawke’s Bay), T. Henderson (Auckland), and G. F. C. Campbell (Wellington). It was decided to ask Lord Glasgow on arrival to become President, and that each affiliated Union should nominate a Vice-President.

“Communications were received from New South Wales and Queensland re the visit of a New Zealand team, and it was decided to enter into correspondence with the Australian Unions on the subject of sending a Representative team to New South Wales and Queensland at the end of the season of 1892.

“As it was now 12 p.m. the meeting adjourned.”

From “The History of New Zealand Rugby Football Vol. 1 1870-1945” by A C Swan. First published 1948 by A H & A W Reed. Pp. 118-122.

E D Hoben - driving force

G F C Campbell chaired the meeting