Events In History


Regional rugby

  • Regional rugby

    The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby helped give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky facts about each of New Zealand's 26 regional rugby teams.

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  • Page 24 - Canterbury rugbyHistory and highlights of rugby in the Canterbury

Ngāi Tahu and earlier tribes lived mainly where there was food – by the sea and at Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), which had lots of eels. The government bought much of their territory in 1848, but broke its promise to keep enough land for them. The tribe was finally compensated in 1997. The London-based Canterbury Association aimed to recreate English rural society in Canterbury. From 1850, they sent out different classes of people – from rich landowners, to farmers, to shepherds and servants. The settlers had set up large sheep farms on the plains and in the hill country. Some farmers became rich exporting wool and meat (known as ‘Canterbury lamb’). Near the end of the 19th century these runs were divided into smaller farms.

Meaning of place name
The name was decided at the first meeting od the Canterbury Association of which Dr John Bird Sumner, archbishop of Canterbury, was elected president. The minutes of the Association meeting record that it was decided 'to call it Canterbury after our ecclesiastical mother'.