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Record income and largest ever investment in growing rugby announced at NZR 125 AGM

Record income and largest ever investment in growing rugby announced at NZR 125 AGM

  • Record income level of $161.7m, up 21 percent on 2015
  • Provincial Union grants up 54 percent on 2015 and record increased investment in players
  • Record number of registered players, 155,934, a 3 percent increase on 2015

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) delivered a record level of investment in rugby in 2016 with increased funding to Provincial Unions, Super Rugby teams and to the pool of money to retain professional rugby players, it was announced at the organisation’s historic 125th AGM in Wellington this morning.

New Zealand teams dominant on the field
NZR Chair Brent Impey said NZR is delivering on its 2020 strategy to enable all of rugby to be the best it can be.

“2016 was another successful year for rugby with New Zealand teams dominating internationally. The All Blacks won all the silverware they competed for and set a world-record of consecutive Test victories for a Tier One nation. We significantly increased the amount of money in the player payment pool which enables NZR to keep our top players to help us continue to win pinnacle events and retain our status as world leaders in rugby.

“New Zealanders love to see our national teams win on the world stage which is why last year we invested $26 million extra into our players, our high performance programmes and our competitions.

“Women’s rugby made further strides in 2016. The Black Ferns went unbeaten in five Test matches, the Black Ferns Sevens won silver at the Rio Olympics and the number of female players shot up 11 percent. These results were backed up by a $2 million increase in the woman’s game, including $600,000 extra for developing women’s rugby at a community level.

“Our Super Rugby teams again dominated the Investec Super Rugby competition with the Hurricanes taking out their first competition title and three New Zealand sides making the semi-finals. 2016 saw an extra $3.8 million invested in our Super Rugby clubs to better reward our players and coaches and ensure our teams are adequately supported to continue to perform to their best in the competition.

Biggest investment in provincial rugby
“The success of our national and Super Rugby teams is entirely reliant on the success of Community Rugby. Our greatest investment in building the future of our game was the $11 million extra that we provided to Provincial Unions in 2016, lifting the total investment by 54 percent compared to 2015.

“Our additional investment has led to a record number of New Zealanders playing. We had just under 156,000 registered rugby players in 2016, with the biggest growth area being children under 13, up five percent on 2015 and up almost 10 percent since 2012. Rugby is also becoming increasingly popular with girls, with a surge in those under 13 picking up a rugby ball – a 12 percent increase on 2015.

“In addition to the growth in player numbers we have also rolled out a range of initiatives to grow and support rugby at the community level such as investing $800,000 in our wider Auckland Strategy, expanding our RugbySmart partnership with ACC and focused investment in the regional player development academies.

“This investment in Community Rugby is growing the pool of future All Blacks and Black Ferns as well as providing great exercise, recreation and competition from one end of the country to the other. The funding has also ensured that the Provincial Unions are in their strongest financial position in over a decade, reporting combined profits of $4.1 million, a turnaround from the combined deficit posted in 2015.

“Off the field, we led the development of a cross-sport initiative, Sport For Everyone, which seeks to promote greater diversity and inclusion across sport in New Zealand. The focus was supplemented by the appointment of an external advisory panel to identify opportunities to promote greater respect and responsibility across the game.

Record income levels
NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said the organisation was in solid financial health.

“In 2016, we recorded an underlying loss of $6 million, which was $3 million better than budgeted.  This loss reflects a deliberate decision to use the income due from this year’s DHL New Zealand Lions Series and invest it early into delivering our 2020 strategy.

“We are investing in the additional income smartly and spreading it evenly over the economic cycle through to 2020. Rather than spend it all in one year we are ensuring the financial benefits from the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 and other areas of income are invested sustainably over the mid-term to set rugby up for long-term success.

“We made this investment in rugby in 2016 because our balance sheet could sustain it due to having no debt and a strong cash position. In addition, our commercial team deserve special recognition for the increase in income which has come through their good work.

“None of our increased investment in rugby would be possible without increasing our income. In 2016, we grew our income by a record 21 percent, and 2017 is forecast to see further increase with a one in 12-year commercial benefit from the DHL New Zealand Lions Series.”

The 2016 Annual Report is available at or

Maurice Trapp becomes New Zealand Rugby President
Outgoing Vice President Maurice Trapp has been elected the new President of NZR, replacing long time rugby administrator David Rhodes in the role, who retired after completing his two-year term.

Trapp has been the Chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation and President of Auckland Rugby. He is a former Auckland coach (1987-91) and long-time administrator in Auckland and Hawke’s Bay.

“We welcome Maurice to the Presidency and wish him all the best during the next two exciting years for New Zealand Rugby,” said Brent Impey.

Bill Osborne elected Vice-President
Bill Osborne was elected to the position of Vice-President for a two-year term.

Bill Osborne, All Black #744, played 48 times for the All Blacks between 1975 and 1982, including 16 Tests. He also played for New Zealand Maori and was the New Zealand Maori Player of the Year in 1977.

He has served on the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board and is a former board member of the Sports Foundation, Hillary Commission and SPARC.

Osborne has an extensive business background including roles as Group Manager International for New Zealand Post, CEO of Quotable Value New Zealand, inaugural chairman of 2 Degrees Mobile and chair of CoreLogic New Zealand.

Of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi descent, Osborne has committed much time to Maori development including serving on the Maori Economic Development Commission, establishing the Te Huarahi Tika Trust and Chairing Hautaki Limited, the commercial arm of the Trust.

“Congratulations to Bill. It is great to have such an experienced former All Black and Maori All Black, sports administrator and business leader in the Vice-President role and I’m sure he will bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the board,” said Brent Impey.

Board elections and appointment
Current NZR Board members Andrew Golightly and Stewart Mitchell were re-elected to the Board unopposed, having first joined in 2014.

The Appointments and Remuneration Committee re-appointed Peter Kean for a further three-year term on the Board.



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