New Zealand Harlequins History

About the NZ Harlequins Rugby Club

The NZ Harlequin Rugby Football Club (Inc.) Hamilton, New Zealand, was formed in the State Fire Office, Hamilton, Waikato, on June 15, 1938.

The NZ Harlequins first team played in Tauranga in 1939. After the war In 1946, there was a meeting of the club and the club stated its aims and objectives as:

  • To renew and maintain old friendships of playing days.
  • To engage in football free from competition, and for the joy of it.
  • To invite promising juniors to play for the club and teach such youngsters the spirit of the game.
  • To play friendly games with similar clubs when such can be conveniently arranged.

Many All blacks have played in the New Zealand Harlequins jersey over the years and since the inclusion of the under 17 development programme in 1992, has given a clear development pathway for young up and coming Waikato rugby players.

The annual NZ Harlequins’ under 17 programme has been hailed as an outstanding success since its inception in the early 1990s.

“Every team featured players from smaller country schools and they grabbed their opportunities with relish. It’s the same today.” The progress of youngsters such as Bruce Reihana, who made the first under 17 team, then Mark van Gisbergan, Isaac Boss, Nathan White and Regan King proved the value of giving these players the opportunity to shine.

Annual matches with NZ Area Schools and the NZ Vikings club from Northland have become regular features. A NZ Harlequin camp, supported by the Waikato Rugby Union for approx 40-45 players will be staged at St Paul’s Collegiate.

Since 2013, we have been developing a U13 programme and in 2018 we had our 1st women’s 7s team. In 2019 we have committed to a development programme to help players lead into our first Girls Under16 team.

  • U13 Development
  • U17 Girls Development
  • U17 Boys Development

Supporting the development of our youth rugby in the Waikato.

Under 17 Boys 1990 - 2021

The annual NZ Harlequins’ under 17 programme has been hailed as an outstanding success since its inception in the early 1990s. A social conversation on the former Waikato classic riverboat, the Waipa Delta, between Harlequin stalwarts Ted Monkle....
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History 1970 to 2003

1974 - J O (Chick) Wells was NZ Harlequin president in 1974 when our club hosted the NSW Country side in mid-April. The NSW Country team featured halfback John Hipwell, loose forward Greg Cornelson, back rowers John Lambie and Tony Gelling, centr....
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History 1950 to 1969

Rex Pickering, who played 104 matches for Waikato from 1955-1965, and was an All Black from 1957-60, is NZ Harlequin club patron. Ernest Arthur Rex Pickering, who made his Waikato debut in 1955 against North Auckland at the age of 18, soon became....
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History 1930s to 1949

The Harlequin Football Club was born in 1869 in London. The members had first played in 1866 - only a few years after rugby and soccer had begun to go their separate ways - as Hampstead FC. But their only tie with Hampstead was that they had foun....
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