The Tasman Rugby Union was formed in December 2005 to allow the region to field a team in the premier 2006 national provincial competition (then known as the Air New Zealand Cup).
The “Makos”, as the Union’s team is known, was an amalgamation of the Nelson Bays and Marlborough Rugby Unions, thereby becoming New Zealand’s newest provincial union.
Nelson is The Home of Rugby in New Zealand, being where the first ever competitive rugby match took place in May 1870 at The Botanics between a Nelson College side and Nelson Football Club.
The Nelson Bays Rugby Sub-Union, founded in 1969 and whose representative team is known as “The Griffins”, is in itself an amalgamation of the Nelson and Golden Bays Rugby Unions founded in 1885 (becoming the nation’s sixth provincial union) and 1920 respectively.
The Marlborough Rugby Sub-Union, founded in 1888 and known as the “Red Devils”, has a proud rugby heritage including holding the storied Ranfurly Shield for six defenses in 1973.
Our two venues are Lansdowne Park in Blenheim, which was completely revamped in early 2006 to meet NZRU standards, and Trafalgar Park in Nelson which underwent a major upgrade to secure the hosting of two matches in the 2011 RWC and which was largely completed in time for the 2010 NPC season, now known as the Mitre 10 Cup.
As a national provincial union, we are a feeder to the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise based in Christchurch. Our players however are also represented in the Highlanders, Chiefs and Blues.
The Tasman Makos won the 2013 ITM Championship Cup and in 2014 contested the ITM Cup Premiership Division final, going down in a thriller to Taranaki in New Plymouth.