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Stalwart honoured through new name for Rugby Park

The West Coast Rugby Union is proud to announce that it is renaming its home ground, Rugby Park Greymouth, to John Sturgeon Park recognising the significant lifetime contribution given to West Coast and New Zealand rugby, as well as the community he has called home. The renaming not only honours Mr Sturgeon’s contribution, but that of his family, especially Mary Sturgeon, who has also served her community exceptionally alongside her husband.

Mr Sturgeon played rugby for the United Club from 1954 until 1968, the year in which his services to rugby administration began. He started as an executive member of the Star Rugby Club, and by 1976 was appointed to the management committee of the West Coast Rugby Football Union. From 1984 until 1986 he served as chairman of the union, and then returned from 2000 until 2007 in various committee roles as well as being appointed a life member.

In addition to his tremendous contribution to West Coast Rugby, he was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) Council in 1987 serving in various roles, most recently as president, elected in 2009. He also spent many years during the 1980’s managing the New Zealand Colts team, Northern Maori Team and New Zealand Sevens team before going on to manage the All Blacks from 1988 until 1991.

Mr Sturgeon received a Queen’s 1990 Commemorative Medal for service to rugby, mining and the community, and was made an MBE in 1991 for his services to sport.

Mike Meehan, Chairman of the West Coast Rugby Union, said that the renaming proposal was met with unanimous support by the Board.

“Once the idea was mooted, and after undertaking some research and discussing the idea with John himself, we decided that this would go some way toward honouring the considerable contribution he has provided to West Coast and New Zealand rugby.”

The announcement was made at the West Coast Rugby Union meeting in March this year.

Mr Meehan said that the Union is planning a special event to unveil the new name for the park.

“We will be hosting a special event prior to its Heartland home game vs Wairarapa Bush on 6 October,” said Mr Meehan.

Details of this special event will be outlined in coming weeks with the Union intending to invite players and administrators from around New Zealand, the West Coast and other provincial unions, as well as community leaders Mr Sturgeon has worked with over many years.

“This will be an exciting day, and I hope the community will join us to celebrate this honour with John, Mary and his family.”