The North Harbour Rugby Referees Association was formed in 1984 when a group of Referees from the Auckland Rugby Referees Association (ARRA) decided to set up an organisation to provide Referees for the newly formed North Harbour Rugby Union. This group of Referees set up the format of the NHRRA and did all the forward planning to ensure a smooth start-up in 1985. They held their first AGM in 1984 and John Heerdegen was elected as first President, Pat Bosley as Chairman, with Allan Wilson heading the Grading, Coaching and Appointments committee.

The first meeting of the Association was held in the Takapuna Rugby Football Club (TRFC) and was attended by an impressive number of ex Auckland Referees and those wanting to be North Harbour Referees. The TRFC generously let us use their club rooms for several years at no cost, followed by a few years when we became nomads having our meetings at different locations, The Poenamo Hotel, Takapuna Cricket Club, North Harbour Sports Building, Marist RFC until we finally negotiated a 20 year lease at the Stadium.

A generous $1000 loan from the ARRA was all the finance the fledgling NHRRA had, but thanks to some hard selling of raffle tickets at Monday night meetings by Dave Dryden and John “Skippy” Hendry our finances improved.

In 1988 the NHRRA was given its first major task, that of refereeing the Northern Region Under 19 Open Tournament which included teams from NSW and Queensland. The first gear issue was a jersey and socks with Referees providing the rest of their kit. Any replacement gear had to be purchased by the Referee. The first jersey was prone to the Cardinal Red dye on the collars and cuffs running and some interesting jersey colours appeared, and the thick woollen socks went into holes fairly quickly.

All Referees were placed in Panels depending on their ability and twice a year (June and September) the panels were reviewed and the top six Referees in each panel were listed in numerical order, the rest in alphabetical order. To gain promotion you had to be better than the person above you in the numerical order and then on a trial basis had to be better than the lower persons in the panel above yours, not an easy task.

We have had varying degrees of success with National level Refereeing with some making the top Provincial level with our most recognised referee Steve Walsh coming through the ranks from a First Year Referee to International level.

A major overhaul of the Executive set up was undertaken during 1995 and presented to Members, which was initially rejected but accepted with modifications in 1996. This set the format for the current administration of the Association.

The Association has had generous sponsorship from a number of Sponsors and this has enabled the Association to carry out undertakings with regard to gear, financing interchanges, training equipment and other amenities to develop Refereeing.

The NHRRA held its 25 year celebration at the Takapuna RSA in 2010. The function was well attended by many “old boys” with speeches given by our first Number One Referee Rod Hill and the then current Number One Referee Glenn Newman.


1. Passion

2. Excellence

3. Unity

4. Respect

5. Honesty


1. Delivering a Quality Recruitment, Retention and Training Programme

2. Producing quality on and off field performances

3. Providing quality hospitality to visiting Referees