North Harbour Rugby Union

North Harbour Rugby Union
Rugby Union
Logo North Harbour Rugby Union.svg
Nickname(s) Harbour
Founded 1985
Region Blues
Ground(s) North Harbour Stadium (Capacity: 25,000)
Coach(es) New Zealand Liam Barry
League(s) ITM Cup
2011 6th (Championship Division)
1st kit
2nd kit

The North Harbour Rugby Union (NHRU), commonly referred to colloquially as North Harbour or simply Harbour, is a provincial rugby team which competes in the ITM Cup (known as the Air New Zealand Cup from 2006 to 2009), the successor to the country's former domestic competition, the National Provincial Championship (NPC).



Harbour Rugby encompasses a geographical area that is situated in North Shore City, Rodney District and part of Waitakere City. There are 12 rugby clubs from Mahurangi RFC, based in Warkworth, Rodney District, in the north through to the North Shore club based in Devonport, North Shore City, the southernmost area of the union.

Ranfurly Shield

After 10 previous unsuccessful challenges for the Ranfurly Shield, most notably 1996 when they challenged for it three times in 6 weeks against Taranaki, Waikato and Auckland, North Harbour succeeded in their eleventh challenge for the shield on 24 September 2006 by beating the previous holders Canterbury 21-17 at Jade Stadium in Christchurch [1].

Under the rules of the Shield challenge, they had to defend the Shield before the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup season against teams in New Zealand's second tier domestic competition, the semi-professional Heartland Championship. Accordingly, they scheduled defences against Thames Valley on 30 June 2007 and Horowhenua-Kapiti on 14 July.[2] Harbour easily won their first defence 69-0 over Thames Valley,[3] and followed it up two weeks later with an impressive 99-6 victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti.[4][5].

After defeating Taranaki 19-13 in their first challenge in the Air New Zealand Cup, North Harbour lost the Ranfurly Shield to Waikato by a record margin of 52-7.

Representative rugby

Representative teams from North Harbour take part in both national and regional competitions. The North Harbour Senior side plays in the ITM Cup.

Apparel is supplied by Canterbury of New Zealand. Main sponsors are:

North Harbour in Super Rugby

As North Harbour is one of three provinces involved in the Blues franchise who play in the Super Rugby competition, their players are eligible to be picked by the Blues without relying on player drafting, thus, North Harbour players can be seen in Blues jerseys regularly also.

At the beginning of Super Rugby, North Harbour was part of the Chiefs franchise as a combined team of Auckland and North Harbour was thought to be unfair by the NZRU; Auckland and North Harbour collectively had a large percentage of the All Blacks of the time. Later however, North Harbour along with Northland were 'swapped' for Counties Manukau and, thus joined the Blues.


North Harbour's original Hibiscus badge

North Harbour was formed in 1985 from clubs which broke away from the Auckland Rugby Union. During this time the union's team has developed a reputation for playing quality rugby football.

North Harbour has enjoyed a great deal of success on the rugby field having produced All Blacks and other New Zealand Representative players, and also winning the 3rd division title in their first year, then promotion to NPC Division 1, and making the finals of the NPC competition on several occasions during the 90's, and hosted the 1994 final at a capacity-crowd Onewa Domain against Auckland.

Onewa Domain, Northcote was the former home base for North Harbour rugby. North Harbour players play in the Super Rugby competition as part of the Auckland Blues partnership with the neighbouring Northland and Auckland unions. With the development of the North Harbour Stadium at Albany in the late 90's, this stadium became the home base of Harbour rugby.

North harbour played Japan on June 4, winning 23-19 in Albany.

Club and High-school Rugby

The club rugby season runs annually from March through to the beginning of August.

There are also 16 secondary schools fielding close to 100 teams within the North Harbour Region. Due to the ratio of secondary schools to rugby clubs, there is a strong relationship between the two.

Member clubs

  • Mahurangi
  • Silverdale
  • Helensville
  • Kumeu (Riverhead)
  • Massey
  • East Coast Bays
  • Glenfield
  • Northcote
  • Takapuna
  • North Shore
  • Marist
  • Royal New Zealand Navy

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Player Position Union
Ben Afeaki Prop New Zealand New Zealand
James Afoa Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Michael Reid Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Manu Leiataua Hooker New Zealand New Zealand
Michael Mayhew Hooker New Zealand New Zealand
James Parson Hooker New Zealand New Zealand
Michael Farmer Lock New Zealand New Zealand
James King Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Filo Paulo Lock New Zealand New Zealand
William Whetton Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Anthony Boric Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Tom Chamberlain Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Richard Mayhew Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Malakai Ravulo Flanker Fiji Fiji
Scott Uren Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Mathew Luamanu Number 8 New Zealand New Zealand
Player Position Union
Grayson Hart Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
Chris Smylie Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
Nalu Tuigamala Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
Michael Harris Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Ben Botica Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Luke McAlister Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Jack Tarrant Centre Japan Japan
Brendon Watt Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Alipate Fatafehi Wing Tonga Tonga
Ken Pisi Wing New Zealand New Zealand
Nafi Tuitavake Wing New Zealand New Zealand
Josh York Wing New Zealand New Zealand
Jack McPhee Fullback New Zealand New Zealand

Former players

These are players who have played for North Harbour in the past and have gone on to play international rugby and accomplish other feats as listed:


The Harbour Master is the official Mascot for the North Harbour Rugby Union, He is dressed in a 'Captains' style suit with a large smiling head and carries with him at all times an oversized pair of binoculars. As with every year since his inception he has occupied his place on the sideline during Harbour home games.

2010 ITM Cup Appearances

  • Harbour Vs Auckland 01/08 (Albany)
  • Harbour Vs Otago 19/08 (Albany)
  • Harbour Vs Waikato 04/09 (Albany)
  • Harbour Vs Manawatu 26/09 (Albany)
  • Harbour Vs Wellington 10/10 (Albany)

2010 Television Appearances

  • This Given Sunday 12/09 (Rugby Channel - Sky TV, NZ)


  • In 2008 The Harbour Master was involved in a tackle which resulted in the rival seagull mascot from Auckland breaking his leg.

Notes and references

External links

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