A year on from the financial meltdown at the Otago Rugby
Football Union and it seems everyone wants to look forward, not
One year ago tonight the financial mire the union was in was
revealed to all at the annual meeting of the union.
The union almost went belly-up, drowning in a sea of debt,
and it was only through hard work, the support of the
community and some people and organisations stepping up to
the plate which saved the union from going out of business a
year ago. It was a pretty scary thought at the time - no
rugby union, no blue and gold, no team for players to aspire
to. The team that greats such as Wilson, Willocks and Duncan
played for would no longer exist.
It seemed hard to believe after 131 years of existence. But
it was saved, and it appears most have moved on.
New union chairman Doug Harvie and new general manager
Richard Kinley declined to be interviewed.
They both said they were not there when all the drama
unfolded, so could not comment on it.
Until the accounts were released for the 2012 year, which
should be in the next week or two, they could not comment on
where financially the union stood.
They had budgeted for a small profit and that should be the
Former ORFU chairman Wayne Graham, who fronted throughout the
days when the union lurched towards liquidation and finally
avoided it, had little to say when contacted by the Otago
He had a job to do and he did it, he said. He was no longer
involved in rugby administration at any level, although he
still watched the game.
Graham and board deputy chairman Laurie Mains got involved in
a legal stoush with Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull over comments
Cull made the day after a financial rescue was announced.
It was eventually settled and Graham did not wish to comment
on that matter.
Former ORFU general manager Richard Reid, who led the union
for more than four years up to November 2011, declined
comment when approached. He has never commented on the issue.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew was at the
meeting that fateful night a year ago, and uttered those
scary words ''the hole is too big''.
The next day, he said he would be the first one to buy the
beer if the union avoided liquidation.
In a recent interview, Tew joked he owed everyone a beer in
''But what has happened down there has been really positive
in the past 12 months. The group that put their hand up to
help and the new board are working really hard and being
sensible,'' Tew said.
He said it was good for the union to have the Otago team make
it through to the ITM Cup championship final, and maybe it
was good to stay down in the championship for another year.
Tew said it was very tough to stand up at the meeting and
outline the perilous state of the union last year. Things
were not getting any easier. Costs were rising, funding was
shrinking, but the same rules still applied: ''You can't
spend more than you earn.''