The Tasman Rugby Union was formed in December 2005 to allow the region to field a team in the premier 2006 national provincial competition (known as the Mitre 10 Cup).
The “Mako”, as the union’s team is known, was an amalgamation of the Nelson Bays and Marlborough Rugby Unions, and is New Zealand’s newest provincial union. It also has a surprisingly diverse group of players reflecting the Nelson Tasman region’s cultural history and New Zealand’s connection with Pasifika nations.
Tasman players have represented many New Zealand teams including the All Blacks, Māori All Blacks, Sevens and Under 20s. International players have also been developed who have gone on to represent Australia, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. The team prides itself on its acceptance of all nationalities who, along with local players, create an inclusive team environment.
Respect for the name the team carries and the culture that underpins that name is reflected in its recent renaming from "Makos" to "Mako" (click on this link for more about the Mako name).
Nelson Tasman is the home of rugby in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The first ever competitive rugby match took place in May 1870 at The Botanics in central Nelson between a Nelson College side and Nelson Football Club.
The Tasman Rugby Union’s two venues are Lansdowne Park in Blenheim, and Trafalgar Park in Nelson which underwent a major upgrade to secure the hosting of two matches in the 2011 RWC. It will also host an All Blacks test in 2018.
As a national provincial union, the Tasman Rugby Union is a feeder to the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise based in Christchurch. Its players are also represented in the Highlanders, Chiefs, and Blues.
The Tasman Mako team won the 2013 ITM Championship Cup and in 2014 contested the ITM Cup Premiership Division final, and also the 2016 and 2017 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Division finals (making the Mako the nation's second-best team for three out of the last four years).
To find out more about the mighty Mako team click here.