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‘Aratipu’ (Growth) of NZ Super Rugby Announced

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the five NZ Super Rugby Clubs are undertaking a review of New Zealand’s Super Rugby model to ensure the future success for the clubs and competition on and off the field. The review, called Aratipu – is about growing, regeneration and invigoration.

Blues Chair and Barrister, Don Mackinnon will Chair Aratipu and will be joined by Chiefs Chair, Tonia Cawood, Hurricanes Chair, Iain Potter, Crusaders Chair, Grant Jarrold, Highlanders Chair, Doug Harvie, Private Investor Representative, Liz Dawson, NZR Chair Brent Impey and NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson.

A Steering Committee, Private Investor Working Group and independent parties will also be part of the Aratipu process.

Mackinnon said: “The work we are announcing today will look at a range of options for the future of Super Rugby in New Zealand with the goal of offering a competition that engages fans, is financially sustainable whilst continuing to develop outstanding players ready for national representative rugby.

“All of the Super Rugby licenses were up for renewal in 2020 and a review was already underway as part of that, however the impact of Covid-19 creates another dimension and means we need to take a broader look at how we continue the 25 year legacy of Super Rugby for New Zealand.

“The scope of Aratipu will include the New Zealand Super Rugby competition (local and offshore), clarify Super Rugby’s role in the domestic high-performance pathway, review the ownership and equity structure, and digital rights. We will consult widely and think broadly.”

NZR Chief Executive, Mark Robinson said: “NZR is committed to SANZAAR and our broadcast agreement with Sky TV for the next five years. The review is about ensuring our Super Rugby remains relevant, sustainable and our fans are entertained and engaged.

“The recent Review of Rugby highlighted areas of opportunity for Super Rugby in terms of both revenue and cost. We are now also factoring in the impact of Covid-19 to look at a range of scenarios for the Clubs and competition to keep the Super Rugby legacy strong and fit for purpose.

Aratipu is fitting as it symbolises development and growth in a new direction, and this review is about NZR and the NZ Super Rugby Clubs coming together in the spirit of regeneration and reinvigoration for the competition.

“This is an important piece of work for Super Rugby in New Zealand. I am encouraged by the discussions we have already had that demonstrate a real desire to drive positive change in the way Super Rugby is administered and played. It is a hugely positive signal for the game that Clubs, investors and NZR are coming together to do what is in the best interests for Super Rugby and rugby in New Zealand.

“Super Rugby is a vital part of our rugby eco-system and has a solid 25-year track record as a strong and admired rugby competition that has valuable intellectual property and a legacy of world class rugby. We are committed to setting New Zealand Super Rugby up to continue this success for another 25 years.”

A preliminary report will be provided to the NZR Board at the end of June 2020, and the findings of Aratipu will be provided later in the year.

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