Nearly all rugby unions competing in the Mitre 10 Cup improved their financial performances last year and posted their best combined surplus in a decade.

The provincial competition involves 14 semi-professional and amateur teams from across New Zealand.

Finances of the teams - Canterbury, Counties-Manukau, North Harbour, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Northland, Otago, Southland, Hawke's Bay and Manawatu - were analysed by professional services firm Deloitte for the latest State of the Unions report.

For the first time since 2013, all 14 unions posted surpluses in the 2016 financial year, Deloitte says.


Collectively they recorded combined surpluses of $3.5 million last year compared to joint losses of $1.4m in 2015.

Twelve delivered better financial results than in 2015.

Revenue across the unions was $78.2m in the 2016 financial year, up from $66.4m the year before - a rise of 17.8 per cent.

Deloitte said a main part of the result was "the substantial increase in grants" being provided by New Zealand Rugby.

"It is expected that the increased grants, to be used to invest in the development of the game at the grassroots, will continue in the foreseeable future," Deloitte said.

Deloitte partner Grant Jarrold said the unions made big improvements.

"The positive takeaway is that the largest increase in expenditure, in percentage and dollar terms, was in the 'growing the game' category," said Jarrold.

"This reflects that increases in revenue was reinvested back into grassroots rugby. Spending on this category increased by $2.9 million, the largest year-on-year increase since we began doing this annual review," he said.


"However, the unions still need to remain vigilant with their spending. After all, they are the current caretakers of the game and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that funds are spent purposefully, and are aligned to the strategy of growing the game in the community," he said.