A brief history


Joe Templeton

A Brief History

Ngaruawahia United was formed in 1968 by Ngaruawahia High School engineering teacher Joe Templeton (an ex-Liverpool goalkeeper), mainly from players attending his High School. However, due to a lack of numbers, no competition was entered into until the 1969 season, when the team competed in the Waikato B Division.

Amalgamation with Northern League neighbours AFFCo Rangers in 1977 saw Ngaruawahia gain painless entry into the Northern League. Also in the same year the two-storied clubrooms were built, almost entirely by the club membership.

In the 1980s the club and council combined to prepare the “tomato patch” as another playing surface and, with the later hosting of Waikato FC over the 2008-2009 summer season, Ngaruawahia had the beginnings of a very good playing strip.

Ngaruawahia moved up and down the Northern League tables over the years from Div. 4 South to Premiers.

A club highlight was reached in 1998 when the senior team met Dunedin Technical in the Chatham Cup semi-finals (losing 0-2) in Dunedin.

2006 saw the establishment of the club website and the regular match-day programmes, published whenever the senior team has a home game. This became a full-coloured 20-24 page booklet in the 2009 season, strongly sponsored by the Ngaruawahia presence of Century 21 and then in 2010 by Print House of Hamilton.  In 2012 we were assisted in the production of our match-day bulletin by the Waikato District Council. By the beginning of the 2016 season the website had accumulated over 57,000 photos of teams and game photos.

In 2008 Centennial Park became the home ground of the WaikatoFC franchise. Improvements were made to the changing rooms, the pitch and the clubrooms. The field was fenced and seating was borrowed from the Hamilton car racing circuit. Many members of Ngaruawahia United were involved behind the scenes in support of the franchise.

2011 saw the appointment of Phillip Ruggles as senior coach along with a new committee to assist in the re-establishment of Ngaruawahia United as a local force in Waikato football. At the same time Sharp Copiers came to our aid in fully sponsoring a 20-page full-colour programme for the senior home games. The senior team came second in the Lotto Northern League Division 2 and were promoted to Division 1 for 2012.

At the end of the 2011 season the local council commenced an upgrade of the No.1 field, regrading it and installing an under-pitch automatic watering system. Approximately $80,000 has been invested in its upgrade. The first official fixture played on the pitch was on 24th March 2012 against Birkenhead United in the Northern League Div 1 competition.

Joel Pinto Nunez was appointed as Senior Coach for the 2013 season. After a shaky start they moved towards the top of the NRFL Division. The last match of the season (a catch-up one) against North Shore was taken in convincing fashion by Narra 5-0. This ensured them second position behind Glenfield Rovers and promotion to the Premier League. Six members of the squad were picked up by three ASB summer league sides. Federico Marquez and Steve Morrison (Canterbury United), John Irving (Auckland City), Reid Drake, Danyon Drake and Ben Latham (Waikato United).

Rodrigo (Rodi) Rojas was appointed Senior Coach to take the team through the Premier League. The season was unsuccessful and the club dropped back to the Northern League Division 1 for the 2015 year. This appeared to be the cause of over 20 seniors players leaving for other clubsin the ensuing off-season.

Magi Mas Manresa (Spain) appointed Senior coach. Through an elbow injury that could not be treated in NZ he returned to Spain. Matt Williams took over the coaching role. The team finished bottom of the NRFL 1st Division.

A new coaching structure was established, headed by Norm Rose.


Archive sourcesfor data on this site: The Huntly Press, The Waikato Times, The Otago Daily Times, The Sunday Star Times, North Waikato News, Glen Gray, Ian Miller, John Bell, Sandy MacDonald, Ngaruawahia United, Huntly & Hamilton Libraries, Ngaruawahia High School, NZ Soccer Scoreboard website, Centre Spot and Green Machine Weekly Bulletins.