Prior to the establishment of the NZ Falcons RFC in 2013, New Zealand has had two other gay rugby teams which had run in both Auckland and Wellington. Some of those involved in the previous teams looked to re-establish gay rugby in New Zealand which formed the NZ Falcons.
The first gay rugby team in New Zealand, and the second gay team in the world, was Wellington’s Krazy Knights when it kicked off in 1998. This was followed soon after by the formation of the Ponsonby Heroes later that year. Notably, these teams played in the world’s first rugby match between gay rugby teams in Wellington in October 1998. The Heroes just took out that rugged encounter, by 17 points to 15. One particular highlight of that time was both teams marching together in Auckland’s Hero Parade in the 1999.
The Ponsonby Heroes played local club rugby in Auckland for 7 seasons until 2004, with some great success during this time. The Heroes also participated briefly on the international stage. The Heroes played the touring Brisbane Hustlers in October 2014, taking out the BG Williams trophy – a trophy named in honour of the All Black and Ponsonby rugby legend and good friend and champion of the Heroes.
A number of the Heroes players also played in the 2004 Bingham Cup in London as part of the first Worldwide Barbarians team. The Krazy Knights played a number of ad-hoc invitation matches over a number of years, before focusing on touch rugby and eventually disbanding.
The Falcons started in 2013 so that it could provide playing opportunities for both a new generation of players, and those veterans of the earlier teams who wanted to play in an inclusive environment in New Zealand again.
The team entered the 2014 Bingham Cup, a gay rugby world tournament, in Sydney and managed to pull off a victory in the final for the Bingham Bowl – a remarkable achievement considering this was the team’s first tournament together. In 2015 the team built on the successes of the previous year and went on to win that year’s edition of the Purchas Cup – the annual interstate/trans-Tasman tournament fought between the NZ Falcons, and our beloved cousins across the ditch in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
With an estimated total of over 350 players flanked by over 30 volunteers, across 20 different ethnicities, and our loyal following of over 2,200+ fans worldwide, in June 2023 the Falcons will celebrate 10 years as the longest operating rainbow rugby club in the South Pacific. 2023 also marks 25 years since gay and inclusive rugby was founded and first played in New Zealand.
President: Mathew Nuttall
Secretary: Richard Jin
Treasurer: Andrew Poon
Team manager: Evan Donnelly
Medical doctor: Dr Afraz Adam FRNZCUC
Coaches (union): Joe Barton (head/forwards), Mark Shaw (backs)
Team Manager (touch): Petra Ong
Committee Representatives: Petra Ong, Jono Reeve, Tom Reed, Wallace Revell, Alby Yap