Club History

Founded in 1863, the Christchurch Football Club, with its home at Christchurch Park, has played the game we now know as rugby longer than any other club in the world.

It was founded in 1863, and is arguably the oldest football club in New Zealand.

It has produced All Blacks and contributed to winning provincial teams for over 115 years.

The game of rugby was brought to New Zealand RJS Harman in 1850. He had attended Rugby School in England where the game originated in 1823 when William Webb Ellis picked up a soccer ball and ran with it.

Harman and others played a "hybrid" form of modern rugby in various locations in Christchurch, but notably in and near Christ's College.

A memorable game took place in Latimer Square in August 1863 where 22-a-side teams from Christ's College and "Gentlemen of Christchurch" battled for two hours to a draw. (One goal each.)

Immediately after this game, and perhaps because of it, the Christchurch Football Club was formed on 3 September 1863 with Harman playing a key founding role.

The first club match, between past and present members of Christ's College was played on 13 September 1863. And the club was launched.

Rules were a problem. The world's oldest club, Blackheath, had formed just one year earlier, in 1862, and used rules similar to those in Christchurch.

However the New Zealanders had introduced a rule where the ball was bounced every five yards. And teams played 22-a-side, which was two more than the 1843 Rugby School rules.

These differences were not settled until the sport's governing body in England drew up a standard set of rules for the game we all love.

In total, 34 Christchurch Football Club members have been selected for the All Blacks, five of whom were All Black captains, and over 230 senior players have represented Canterbury and over provinces throughout NZ..

You can see more of the clubs history in our Digital Records Section.