Ray Harper (rugby union)

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Raymond Aubrey Ian Harper QSO QSM (c.1928 – 4 April 2019) was a New Zealand rugby union administrator and manager. [1] [2]

Queens Service Medal New Zealand award for public service

The Queen's Service Medal is a medal awarded by the government of New Zealand to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community and also public service in elected or appointed public office. It was established in 1975 and is related to the Queen's Service Order. The QSM replaced the Imperial Service Medal as an award of New Zealand.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.



Harper was a life member of the Southland Rugby Union, serving as an administrator of the union for 24 years, and representing Southland on the NZRFU council from 1974 to 1987. [3] Harper was involved in the planning for the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987, [3] and was a tour manager for the Junior All Blacks on three tours. [2] He managed the All Blacks on their 1980 tours to Australia and Fiji and North America and Wales. [3]

The 1987 Rugby World Cup was the first Rugby World Cup. New Zealand and Australia agreed to co-host the tournament. New Zealand hosted 20 matches – 17 pool stage matches, two quarter-finals and the final – while Australia hosted 12 matches – seven pool matches, two quarter-finals and both semi-finals. The event was won by co-hosts New Zealand, who were the strong favourites and won all their matches comfortably. France were losing finalists, and Wales surprise third-place winners: Australia, having been second favourites, finished fourth after conceding crucial tries in the dying seconds of both the semi-final against France and the third-place play-off against Wales.

The 1980 New Zealand tour rugby to Australia and Fiji was the 24th tour by the New Zealand national rugby union team to Australia and endend with three matches at Fiji.

The 1980 New Zealand tour of Wales was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the New Zealand All Blacks against Wales that also took in two international games in North America en route to South Wales. This was a single test tour against each of the countries played, with four games against Welsh club opposition.

Harper was a driving force behind the inauguration of Stadium Southland, Invercargill's all-weather sports venue. [3]

Stadium Southland

ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill, New Zealand is a multi-purpose venue, capable of conducting a wide range of events from large scale concerts to sporting events and exhibitions. Incorporating the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome, the stadium complex has hosted a range of national and international events – sporting, recreational, cultural, arts, corporate and even equestrian.

Invercargill Place in South Island, New Zealand

Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. It is the commercial centre of the Southland region. The city lies in the heart of the wide expanse of the Southland Plains on the Oreti or New River some 18 km north of Bluff, which is the southernmost town in the South Island. It sits amid rich farmland that is bordered by large areas of conservation land and marine reserves, including Fiordland National Park covering the south-west corner of the South Island and the Catlins coastal region.

Harper died in Invercargill from bone cancer on 4 April 2019, aged 91 years. [3] [4]

Personal life

Harper was the father-in-law of rugby writer Bob Howitt. [5]

Honours and awards

In the 1991 Queen's Birthday Honours, Harper was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for community service. [6] In the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order, also for community service. [7]

The Birthday Honours 1991 for the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, were announced on 14 June 1991, to celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday of 1991.

The Birthday Honours 2004 for the Commonwealth realms were announced on 11 June 2004 for the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and elsewhere to celebrate the Queen's Birthday of 2004.

Harper was awarded the Steinlager Salver award for exceptional contributions to New Zealand rugby at the 2012 Steinlager New Zealand Rugby Awards. [2] [3]

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Ray Harper is the name of:


  1. "Southland rugby legend Ray Harper has died". What's On Invers. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 "Winners of 2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards announced". All Blacks. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Savory, Logan (4 April 2019). "Stadium Southland instigator Ray Harper has died". Southland Times. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  4. "Harper, Raymond Aubrey Ian (Ray), QSM, QSO". Southland Times. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  5. Williams, Guy (4 February 2017). "Long read: Wrapping up a life of rugby yarns" . Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  6. "No. 52564". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 15 June 1991. p. 31.
  7. "Queen's Birthday honours list 2004". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 7 June 2004. Retrieved 5 April 2019.