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Steve Mitchell Takes Charge As Tasman Rugby Union CEO

Steve Mitchell has recently taken the helm as the Chief Executive Officer of the Tasman Rugby Union, marking a new chapter for the organisation. Steve brings a wealth of experience and a deep-rooted passion for sports and community development. His journey to this position is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to fostering sports at both grassroots and elite levels.

Born and raised in Nelson, Steve Mitchell’s journey began at Hampden Street School, followed by Nelson Intermediate and Nelson Boys’ College. His early career was diverse, starting as a butcher at Lord Brothers in Nelson before venturing into various roles. However, it was his passion for sports that truly shaped his career trajectory.


Steve’s involvement in sports began with amateur boxing, right through his youth and then started a gym in Nelson which he ran for 17 years, even developing representative boxers for New Zealand and attending world championships and Youth Commonwealth Games as a coach and manager. His transition to rugby was a natural progression as his sons became involved in the sport. This shift saw Steve coaching junior through to senior rugby and eventually taking on more significant roles within the rugby community.

Steve’s leadership skills were honed through his involvement with the Rangers Rugby Club and his instrumental role in developing the Moutere Hills Community Centre. As president of the Rangers Rugby Club, he spearheaded the initiative to establish a sports complex in collaboration with the Tasman District Council. This project not only enhanced the local sporting infrastructure but also became a template for rural development across New Zealand.

“Setting a strategy and working to a strategy was probably the biggest learning curve,” Steve reflects on his experience. His ability to align stakeholders and secure community buy-in was pivotal in the success of these projects.
Steve’s career in rugby administration saw significant milestones. He served as the Operations Manager at Tasman Rugby Union, where he was involved in their Premiership win and hosting the first-ever All Black test in Nelson. His success in these roles propelled him to the CEO position at Southland Rugby Union, where he implemented strategies to stabilise and grow the organisation.

“Southland was really, really struggling, but it was full of good, honest people,” Steve says. His tenure in Southland was marked by financial stability and the nurturing of local talent, leading to the success of the Southland Boys’ High School rugby team.
Returning to Nelson as the CEO of Tasman Rugby Union, Steve is driven by a desire to give back to his community. “I’m a proud Nelson and Tasman person,” he states. His vision for the Tasman Rugby Union is clear: a sustainable, successful provincial union that develops local talent and fosters community involvement.

Steve emphasises the importance of local representation and development. “A provincial union should be local representation for local people,” he asserts. His focus is on creating a fun and supportive environment for all participants, from players to coaches and administrators.

In his initial days, Steve is focused on understanding the current state of the organisation. “Initially, it’s actually just to get a baseline of where the organisation is,” he explains. His people-centric approach aims to empower stakeholders and align them with the union’s strategic vision.

One of the significant challenges Steve identifies is balancing elite performance with community engagement. He believes that the health of the community game should be reflected in the performance of the representative teams. “Investing in your own potential” is a mantra he follows, as demonstrated by his success in Southland.

Outside of his professional life, Steve is an avid motorbike enthusiast and enjoys property development with his wife, Pam. Their property in Moutere offers a peaceful retreat from the demands of his role. “By coming home we’ve given away screeching tyres in suburbia for birdsong and stunning views,” said Steve.

Steve’s commitment to amateur sports, particularly boxing, remains strong. He plans to reconnect with the Victory Boxing gym in Nelson, reflecting his ongoing dedication to young people through community sports development.

Steve Mitchell’s appointment as CEO of the Tasman Rugby Union marks a significant step forward for the organisation. His extensive experience, coupled with his passion for community and sports development, positions him well to lead the union into a successful future. With a clear vision and a strategic approach, Steve is set to enhance the Tasman Rugby Union’s legacy and foster a thriving rugby community in Nelson and Tasman.

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