Wairoa Rangers - History

Wairoa Rangers Rugby, Clevedon, New Zealand


The Wairoa Rangers Rugby team was founded in 1889. Clevedon was then known as Wairoa. In the first season they had 30 players and played the games at the McNicol paddock. Historians are unsure whether this is where the polo fields are currently located, or at some other paddock up McNicol Road. Later they made their home at the A&P Showgrounds. The jerseys were blue and black with white shorts.

The first match was against Taupo Maoris (now Kawakawa Bay) on May 11 1889.The ride by the Taupo team was 4 hours on horseback over muddy tracks to Clevedon and back. After the game they washed in the river. That year they also played Maraetai and Pokeno, and also Panmure and Thames traveling by boat.

In 1893 the Franklin Union was formed with four clubs Pukekohe, Tuakau, Bombay and Wairoa.The Wairoa Rangers won the first championship, and also in 1893, 1896 and 1899. Pukekohe won in 1894, 1895, 1897,and 1898.The games were travelled to on horseback with a stop off at the Jolly Farmer Inn on the way home.

Wairoa dominated a few years later, winning 4 years in a row 1911 - 1914. For these consecutive wins they got to keep the championship trophy the Hawke Cup forever. This is still held and on show at the historic McNicol house in McNicol Road, Clevedon. Rugby stopped for the 1st and 2nd world wars as many of the players fought in the wars and sadly some did not come home. In 1923 the name was changed to the Clevedon Rugby Club and played in the Manukau Sub Union. The club won championships in 1923 and 1924 then again in 1931, 1932 and the last in 1938 before closing down in 1954 because of dwindling numbers.

In 2005 the team was resurrected for Clevedon district boys to play some games of rugby on Sundays to foster community spirit. In 2009 there will be 4 teams. The enthusiasm by the boys and their fathers has been incredible. It has been very exiting continuing something that started 120 years ago. One of New Zealand's oldest rugby organizations, The Wairoa Rangers.


2005 Poster 

The Wairoa Rangers team was resurrected based on the Ardmore Marist under 8 team who played their first City v Country game in 2005 against the College Rifles Under 9 Restricted team. The game was played at the Clevedon School with a quick hop across the fence to the Clevedon Hotel for the aftermatch.

In 2005 the Clevedon boys lost the  game but made up for it with an impressive aftermatch function in the Clevedon Hotel garden bar.The City boys were so impressed that it was decided to do the same thing again in 2006 if possible.


2006 Poster 

In 2006 the Ardmore Marist Under 9 team needed to pull in 2 players from the Under 10 restricted team as they had gone up a grade from the last year. Luke Seabrook and Baxter Watson joined their old mates and gave the City Under 10 team a hammering. The Clevedon boys (and girl - as Lauren Jenner joined the Clevedon team for the first time) were victorious and the series was levelled at 1-1.


2007 Poster 

In 2007 the event got a bit more serious with the boys needing a full field to play on. The Clevedon School venue was abandoned and the game was played at the Clevedon Showgrounds on a  fabulous pitch next to the Clevedon Farmers Market.

This year the Wairoa Rangers were made up from 4 different Ardmore Marist teams:

  • Under 10 Restricted
  • Under 10 Open
  • Under 11 Restricted Red
  • Under 11 Restricted Blue
The City boys were pulled from both the College Rifles club and the Universities club.