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Birth of New Zealand Rugby - Roadside Stories

Birth of New Zealand Rugby - Roadside Stories


Milton St, Nelson

A Manatū Taonga audio guide to the first game of rugby played in New Zealand. Check out the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's audio guide in the image carousel above.

New Zealand's first rugby match was held in Nelson in 1870, at the suggestion of Charles Monro, who had played the game as a student in England. Rugby spread rapidly throughout the country, and Māori were quick to embrace the game. It was especially popular in small rural towns.

Charles Monro, father of New Zealand rugby,

Tasman rugby,

Nelson region: sport and recreation,

Sports and race,

Roadside Stories are a series of audio guides to places of interest on major road trips in New Zealand. Each guide tells the story of an attraction along the way -- its people, its history, its cultural and natural significance. For more information about Roadside Stories visit

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