Our Board is charged with setting strategy, direction and policy for New Zealand Rugby, and is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of NZR Management and Staff.
Many of the decisions concerning New Zealand’s national teams, domestic competitions, financial management and rugby traditions can only be made by a vote of the Board.
In October 2017 it was decided to transition over a three-year period to a Board comprising three Elected Board Members, three Appointed Board Members, and three Nominated Board Members. Nominated Board Members are to be nominated by Provincial Unions or the NZ Māori Rugby Board, then appointed by the Appointments and Remuneration Committee, and the first appointment was made in April 2018. The last elected position to be replaced by a nominated position will be decided at the 2020 AGM to complete the transition. Mark Robinson will also vacate his Board position to take up the role of CEO in January 2020 and will also be replaced at the 2020 AGM.
One of the Nominated Board Member positions must be filled by a representative of Māori, and that person is automatically appointed as NZR Representative on the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board.
All Board Members must resign from, and be independent of, any Provincial Union office.
The Chair of the Board is Brent Impey. He has held the Chair since June 2014.
Brent Impey was appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2012. He has both played and coached rugby and was closely involved in many broadcast and sponsorship issues as Chief Executive of Mediaworks from 1999-2009.He was also involved in the 2011 NZRU review of Investec Super Rugby franchises. He holds a number of directorships, including Yellow Pages Group and Devon Funds Management Limited. He has been Chair and Executive Director of the Fred Hollows Foundation in New Zealand and is a director in both New Zealand and Australia. He operates his own consultancy business with clients including Ports of Auckland and government agencies.
Richard Dellabarca was appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2015. He recently returned to New Zealand after 14 years offshore in a variety of CEO, CFO and director positions in private equity backed ventures, capital markets and financial technology. His time offshore also included 12 years with the Kiwi Expat Association (KEA). Prior to this, Richard was an investment banker, working in both New Zealand and Australia in Mergers and Acquisitions and Equity Capital Markets. Richard has an MBA from Cambridge University and is qualified as a barrister and solicitor, and chartered accountant.
Andrew Golightly is a former Northland Rugby Union Chairman (2008-2014) and board member since 2007. He also served five years as a Director of the Blues (2008-13) and is an experienced lawyer and advisor, specialising in employment, disputes resolution and commercial matters. Andrew joined the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2014.
Peter Kean is a long serving executive at Lion and is currently Managing Director of subsidiary Lion Dairy & Drinks responsible for $2.5 billion turnover across Australasia. Peter is a former managing director of Lion Nathan New Zealand (2003-11) and has held various other Lion roles over a 30-year career with the company. Peter joined the Board in 2014.
Stewart Mitchell is a former Canterbury Rugby Football Union Chairman (2012-14) and board member of the Crusaders (2008 - 2014). Stewart is a qualified accountant and highly experienced strategic and human resource consultant. He has over 20 years' experience in various governance roles and has considerable experience working with Councils and both private and public sector Boards, across a broad range of industries. Stewart played representative rugby in both England and NZ and was a member of the NZ Colts (U21 team 1972 -1973). Stewart joined the Board in 2014.
Dr Farah Palmer (ONZM) was elected to the Board in December 2016. The former Black Fern (35 Tests, 1996-2006) captained the team to three consecutive Rugby World Cups, was inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014 and has served on the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board since 2007. Palmer is a senior lecturer in Massey University's School of Management and Director of the University's Māori Business & Leadership Centre (Te Au Rangahau)
Sir Michael Jones was elected to the Board in April 2018. The former All Black played 74 matches between 1987 and 1998 and is a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame. He received a New Zealand Medal for service to the Pacific Island community in 1997 and was knighted in 2017 for his work in driving economic and social development for Pasifika people in New Zealand, and for his work with youth development in NZ. He is Chair of the Village Community and Youth Trust, which provides Pacific and Maori youth mentoring, leadership and educational support, and the Pacific Advancement Trust, which has recently established the first Pacific Island Secondary School in New Zealand. Michael has extensive experience in commercial and business sectors and serves in a number of Governance and leadership roles on various Private sector and community organisations. Michael also holds the Samoan matai chief titles of Savae and La’auli.
Shaun Nixon was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2019. His previous rugby experience includes roles as Chair of North Harbour Rugby Union (2015-2019) and as a Director of the Blues (2017-2019). He has also chaired North Harbour Rugby Audit and Risk Committees and the Commercial Committees from (2012 to 2015) and prior to his New Zealand Rugby appointment was Chair of Audit and Risk and Commercial Committees for the Blues.
Shaun is an entrepreneur and a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience. He is a founding partner of Nixon Cate Chartered Accountants and is also owner of Total Storage Limited which is a nationwide self-storage company.
NZR has two Officers: The President and Vice President, who represent NZR and New Zealand at important functions and events, locally and globally. The President and Vice President (along with the Chief Executive Officer) attend New Zealand Rugby Board Meetings, although they are not considered Board Members and may not vote on Board matters.
These positions are elected for two year terms. In 2019, Bill Osborne became President while Max Spence was elected Vice President.
Bill Osborne has an extensive business background including roles as Group Manager International for New Zealand Post, CEO of Quotable Value New Zealand, inaugural Chair of 2 Degrees Mobile and chair of CoreLogic New Zealand. 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, All Black #744, played 48 times for the All Blacks between 1975 and 1982, including 16 Tests and for the Māori All Blacks.
After graduating from Lincoln College (now University) in 1976 Max Spence has committed his professional career to the agricultural and horticultural sectors. In May 2019 he completed 35 years’ service with Fruitfed Supplies, a part of PGG Wrightson. He stepped down as the National Manager of Fruitfed Supplies in June 2019. He was Chair of the Nelson Bays Rugby Union from 1996 to 2005, Chair of the Tasman Rugby Union for the period 2006 to 2008 and was on the Board of Crusaders Franchise Ltd from 1999 to 2010. He is a life member of the Nelson Bays Sub Union and in 2013 became the first Life Member of the Tasman Rugby Union.
The New Zealand Rugby Patron fills an honorary role as the figurehead for the organisation. Former All Blacks Captain Sir Brian Lochore was Patron until his passing in August 2019, and a successor will be elected at the NZR Annual General Meeting in 2020. Throughout the 20th Century the Governor General traditionally held the role of Patron.