Rotorua will host the 77th Tai Mitchell tournament when it kicks off this Thursday.

Teams will battle for the Tai Mitchell Shield and Bill Murray Trophy at Rotorua Boys' High School.

The Tai Mitchell tournament began in 1938, and is one of the most important events in the Bay of Plenty junior rugby calendar run by the Bay of Plenty Primary Schools Rugby Council.

This year, two pre-season qualifying tournaments were held splitting the 10 teams into two divisions, one playing for the Tai Mitchell Shield and the other for the Bill Murray Trophy.

Teams have been divided into two respective pools which have been determined by pre-season qualifying tournaments in Galatea and Rotorua Boys' High School respectively.

Teams will have two days of pool play before entering into play-offs with semifinals on Saturday and finals on Sunday.

Bay of Plenty Primary Schools president Wayne Fell said support from the Wasps Rugby Football Club was instrumental to successfully delivering this week's tournament.

"The Wasps Rugby Football Club are our tournament's major sponsor.

"Their generosity and commitment to this annual event is instrumental in the success of this long-running tournament. We thank them for the support and look forward to their continued involvement in future years," Fell said.

"Our appreciation also to the Rotorua organising committee, Rotorua Boys' High School, local Rotorua businesses, sponsors and individuals who have contributed in a number of various roles, is vital to the continued success of Tai Mitchell rugby."

Wasps Rugby Football Club president Craig McCord said the Wasps club were proud to play their part in developing Bay of Plenty's emerging talent.

"We are proud to be associated with the Tai Mitchell tournament and the contribution it makes in the development of our emerging sporting talent throughout the Bay of Plenty. We as a club are committed to supporting this tournament moving forward in the future as we have been for more than a decade."

The tournament doubles as a trial for the Bay of Plenty Roller Mills team, which will represent the province at the northern regional tournament against sides from Northland, Auckland, Thames Valley, King Country, Waikato, Taranaki and North Harbour.

The tournament will run from Thursday, July 5 to Sunday, July 8 and all boys attending the tournament must weigh 53kg and under.


The original Tai Mitchell Shield was presented by Henry Taiporutu Mitchell in 1938, for competition among primary school teams representing the Bay of Plenty Rugby Sub-unions.

Mitchell was a renowned Rotorua sports administrator and supporter of all codes.

The Bill Murray Trophy was presented in memory of Bill Murray, a former rugby stalwart and the Primary School Union's secretary of many years.

Click here for the tournament draw and more information.