A change of kit for three Mitre 10 Cup teams this season is thanks to a Hawke's Bay farmer.

Tim Morris, the former coach of Te Aute College and Havelock High School first XVs, sold his Sherenden farm 11 years ago and moved to Sydney so son David could realise his potential as a swimmer.

David Morris switched to rugby and was selected for the Australian national schoolboy team.

After facing a haka he decided to return to New Zealand, but his father didn't return to farming thanks to David losing his headgear.


"Online Canterbury headgear was $146 and I thought, this is wrong," Tim Morris said.

Mr Morris visited alibaba.com, emailed manufacturers who sent samples, gained IRB approval in Ireland and with the help of three fathers, befriended on their sons' rugby side-line, founded Paladin Sports and arranged manufacture.

The first sale was to Hamilton Boys' High School, the reigning world first XV school rugby team at the time. Mr Morris Photoshopped a picture of the winning team adding Paladin headgear - the original showed players with three different headgear types/colours.

Today Paladin Sports has offices in Australia, Singapore, New York, London and New Zealand, with headgear 1 per cent of the business.

Despite the overseas success Mr Morris said signing four rugby unions for the Mitre 10 Cup was an exciting time. Hawke's Bay sported Paladin Kit from last year and this year was joined by Northland, North Harbour and Wellington.

He said he took pride in creating quality products that were bespoke and performance-driven.

"Each Rugby Union has had in-depth consultation to achieve the kit they require for on-field performance as well as creating the right design," he said.

"Northland Rugby Union have seen the most dramatic change to their kit with local iwi and designers creating a jersey that tells a story and symbolises the region."

He said rugby fans were also benefiting through quality replica products at affordable prices.

"Making team replica gear that is affordable and accessible for individual fans and families was super important to Paladin Sports when we set out on this journey. I'm looking forward to going to the games and seeing fans in their supporters' gear cheering on their team."