We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union.We acknowledge all the information from the NZ “Rugby Almanack”Series from the season’s 1934 through to 2015 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. Web Admin

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First Division
Founded 1886 – Affiliated 1893 – Amalgamated 1971
Memorial Park , Masterton
Turquoise jersey with scarlet collar and cuffs, red shorts, green socks with red bands

Retiring Wairarapa Bush coach Lance Penn did not have the best of seasons for his last one with his team finishing in eighth place in the National Championship and having mixed results for I986. Losses to Second Division sides Wanganui and Hawkes Bay, the latter by a big margin, and drubbings from New Zealand Maoris, Canterbury, Auckland, North Auckland and Wellington were the low points of the season. Wairarapa Bush put up a reasonable showing against Australia and recorded wins over Manawatu, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty.

Losses from the 1985 team were Bryan Higginson, who had retired, and Anthony Morris,who was injured. Brett Aitkenhead missed the whole season through sickness while the: 1985 captain, Paul Hawkins, played in only two matches because of injury. Record try scorer Greg Karaitiana was also injured for most of the season. Another loss was Paul Rauleni, who had returned to Fiji. To offset these losses former Southland lock Stuart Walsh was a welcome addition to the pack and Philip Rutene returned after a season with North Auckland. Ilisone Rarasea was a useful recruit from Fiji. Wairarapa Bush had some good individuals who performed well at higher levels but could not foot it as a team with the stronger First Division sides. There was a fair blend of young players with a more experienced group whick looks promising for the future.

Mark Benton kicked ll l points during the season to set two records for the union and he was a tricky runner when he joined the backline. Mostly he was a sound defender but he had a rather unhappy day in the Ranfurly Shield challenge. Rarasea and Mike Foster were two strong wings while young Matthew O’Rourke was full of promise at centre. Martin Berry was a talented second five-eighth although his selection for the All Blacks ahead of more accomplished players was hard to understand. Rutene played steadily at first five-eight while Bernie Lett and former captain Graeme Anderson both gave good service at halfback.

Brett Harvey was the best of the forwards, his line out skills being a welcome addition to his hunting ability in the loose. Joe Wyeth, who is reaching the veteran stage, was full of energy on the other flank and Brent Anderson was very strong in the tight where he received unfailing support from Chris Kapene and Bryan Styles. Motu Tua and Tom Hellena were other good forwards.

Wairarapa Bush players to achieve higher honours for 1986 were:
For New Zealand: M. Berry, Harvey, B. Anderson.
North Island: B. Anderson.
New Zealand Trials: M. Berry, Harvey, B. Anderson, Benton, Kapene.
New Zealand Emerging Players: Benton, B. Anderson, Kapene.
New Zealand Maoris: Kapene.
New Zealand Colts: M. Berry.


1986 Match Record: Played 16 ; Won 5 ; Lost 11
Points : For 234 ; Against 382
(NC) = National Championship
1. April 26 vs Invitation XV , at Masterton
Won 34 – 26
Wai-Bush Scorers : Foster,O’Rourke,Kaka ,G.Anderson,Harvey ,Hawkins, tries
Benton (5) Conversions
Referee: Mr R.C.Francis (Wairarapa Bush)
2. June 2 vs Horowhenua, at Levin
Won 43 – 06
Wai-Bush Scorers : Rarasea (3), G.Anderson (2), M.Berry, Walsh, tries
Benton (6) Conversions , Penalty goal
Referee: Mr L.Boag ( Horowhenua)
3. June 14 vs NZ Maoris, at Masterton
Lost 09 – 41
Wai-Bush Scorers : M.Berry, try
Benton (1) Conversion, (1) Drop Goal
Referee: Mr C.J.Dainty (Wellington)
4. July 16 vs Wanganui, at Pahiatua
Lost 12 – 19
Wai-Bush Scorers : I.Karaitiana, trys
M.Berry (1) Conversion, (2) Penalties
Referee: Mr A.Eagle (Wairarapa Bush)
5. July 23 vs Canterbury, at Christchurch
Lost 07 – 13
Wai-Bush Scorers : B.Anderson , try
Benton (1)  Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr K.I.Chapman (Otago)
6. July 30 vs Australia, at Masterton
Lost 06 – 18
Wai-Bush Scorer :
Benton (2) Penalties
Referee: Mr I.A.Blackmore ( North Auckland)
7. August 2 vs Hawkes Bay, at Napier
Lost  07 – 31
Wai-Bush Scorers : G.Anderson , try
Benton (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr L.Abbot (Hawkes Bay)
8. (NC) August 5 vs Otago, at Masterton
Lost 09 – 17
Wai-Bush Scorer :
Benton (1) Penalty Goal, (2) Drop Goals
Referee: Mr G.M.Klatt (Counties)
9. (NC) August 16 vs Southland, at Invercargill
Lost 12 – 25
Wai-Bush Scorers : B.Anderson, try
Benton (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal , M.Berry (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr M.P.Barry (Marlborough)
10. (NC) August 24 vs Manawatu, at Masterton
Won 25 – 09
Wai-Bush Scorers : HRutene, Tua, O’Rourke, tries
Benton (2) Conversions, (3) Penalty Goals
Referee: Mr I.C.Reilly (Wellington)
11. (NC) August 30 vs Auckland (Ranfurly Shield) , at Auckland
Lost 07 – 50
Wai-Bush Scorers : M.Berry, try
Benton (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr G.F.Smith (Hawkes Bay)
12. (NC) September 7 vs Bay of Plenty, at Masterton
Won 18 – 13
Wai-Bush Scorers : Foster, Rarasea, tries
Benton (2) Conversions, (2) Penalty Goals
Referee: Mr G.J.Anderson (Canterbury)
13. (NC) September 13 vs Counties, at Masterton
Lost 13 – 13
Wai-Bush Scorers : B.Anderson, Try
Benton (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal, (1) Drop Goal
Referee: Mr B.A.Amphlett (Manawatu)
14. (NC) September 20 vs North Auckland, at Whangarei
Lost 09 – 32
Wai-Bush Scorers : Lett , Try
Benton (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr M.W.Thompson (Auckland)
15. (NC) September 27 vs Taranaki, at New Plymouth
Won 15 – 12
Wai-Bush Scorers : Foster , Try
Benton (1) Conversion, (2) Penalty Goals
Referee: Mr K.H.Lawrence (Bay of Plenty)
16. (NC) October 4 vs Wellington, at Masterton
Lost 09 – 39
Wai-Bush Scorers : Harvey , Try
Benton (1) Conversion, (1) Penalty Goal
Referee: Mr J.A.E.Taylor (Waikato)
Wairarapa Bush REPRESENTATIVES 1986 {Total Games + Career}
Player Club 1986 Career
M.F.C.Benton Featherston 15 55
A.J.Morris Greytown 1 5
M.E.Cornford Masterton 5 73
M.H.O’Rourke Masterton 13 13
M.T.Foster Featherston 16 44
I.S.Rarasea Carterton 13 13
G.l.Karaitiana Masterton 1 55
M.T.Berry Greytown 13 26
S.N.Cruden Masterton 12 15
G.R.Gray Marist 1 13
B.J.Lett Carterton 11 41
P.D.Rutene Masterton 7 21
G.W.Anderson Eketahuna 7 67
l.T.Karaitiana Masterton 2 2
C.H.Kaka Martinborough 1 52
P.H.Hawkins Martinborough 2 53
T.H.Hullena Red Star 15 38
H.T.Taylor Carterton 4 4
J.G.Wyeth Masterton 12 65
B.A.Harvey Featherston 13 55
P.W.Sargent Featherston 3 3
P.Berry Greytown 3 3
P.Smith Martinborough 1 1
G.I.Rolston Masterton 4 18
B.L.Anderson Masterton 14 41
S.J.Walsh Pioneer 13 13
C.R.Kapene Martinborough 10 82
R.B.Playle Carterton 7 74
C.F.Berry Greytown 3 3
B.E.Styles Gladstone 15 28
W.Paku Masterton 1 1
M.Tua Tararua 15 15