While Central Bay of Plenty battled out their Stan Meads Cup semifinal on Kuirau Park yesterday, perched sideline was the glorious and time-honoured "ugliest" trophy in New Zealand rugby.

Glass encased, the Peace Cup returned to Rotorua for the first time in 15 years after Central beat Te Awamutu two weeks ago to break the Waikato side's vice-like grip on the challenge trophy after 28 successive encounters.

The cup turns 100 next year and looks every day of it.

On a permanent tilt, it looks like its has been taken to by a small hammer and in some ways it has. It's been dragged behind buses, battered, beaten, taped up, went missing for 12 years (found by a farmer), and thrown out of hotel rooms.

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The Peace Cup - the ugliest trophy in New Zealand, at Kuirau Park yesterday. Photo / Ben Fraser
The Peace Cup - the ugliest trophy in New Zealand, at Kuirau Park yesterday. Photo / Ben Fraser

The cup's history is well documented.

It was donated by Mr R English, a Hamilton accountant and auditor for the Waikato Rugby Union in 1920 for the furtherance of rugby football at sub-union level.

Read more:
Stan Meads Cup: Central Bay of Plenty march into final

A symbol of rugby sub-union supremacy in the Waikato, Thames Valley, King Country and Bay of Plenty regions, according to the New Zealand Rugby Museum in its early days it ranked only below the Ranfurly Shield in importance and drew large crowds and parochial support.

Special trains were put on to ferry away team supporters to Peace Cup games, with host towns often putting on street parades that made their way to the ground on game day.

Famously the cup was stolen in 2004.

The Peace Cup visits a Rotorua school in 2004. Photo / File
The Peace Cup visits a Rotorua school in 2004. Photo / File

An excerpt from the New Zealand Rugby Museum website reads: "It was taken to a preliminary game between Hamilton and Te Awamutu to show case, and subsequently disappeared without trace at the after match function. A small storm of publicity followed and on the morning of the Peace Cup final, Kit Fawcett answered a knock on his front door.

"While no one was to be seen, a black rubbish bag sat on his doorstep. Inside was the Peace Cup, which was taken to the final."

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Central Bay of Plenty will have the chance to hold on to the cup over summer and into its centenary year when they meet Te Awamutu in this weekend's Stan Mead Cup final in Rotorua after beating Cambridge yesterday.

And the "ugliest" trophy in New Zealand will be sideline to watch it unfold.

PEACE CUP WINNERS 1920 - 2018:

1920 - Thames
1921 - Thames
1922 - Thames
1923- Hamilton
1924 - Hamilton
1925 - Thames
1926 - Thames
1927 -Hamilton
1928 -Morrinsville
1929 -Hamilton
1930 - Hamilton
1931 - Matamata
1932 - Morrinsville
1933 - Morrinsville
1934 - Matamata
1935 -Morrinsville
1936 - Thames
1937 -Thames
1938 - Morrinsville
1939 - Matamata
1940 - Waihi
1941 - Pukekohe
1942 - Pukekohe
1943- Maniapoto
1944 - Hamilton
1945 - Morrinsville
1946 - Morrinsville
1947 - Morrinsville
1948 - Hauraki
1949 - Thames
1950- Hauraki
1951 - Rotorua
1952 - Rotorua
1953 - Rotorua
1954 - Rotorua
1955 - Matamata
1956 - Thames
1957 -Rotorua
1958 - Paeroa
1959 - Morrinsville
1960 - Morrinsville
1961 -Matamata
1962 -Paeroa
1963 -South Waikato
1964 - South Waikato
1965 -South Waikato
1966 - Thames
1967 - Te Awamutu
1968 - South Waikato
1969 - South Waikato
1970 - Cambridge
1971 - Rotorua
1972 - Rotorua
1973 - Rotorua
1974 - Morrinsville
1975 - Te Awamutu
1976 - Te Awamutu
1977 -South Waikato
1978 - Hamilton
1979 -South Waikato
1980 -Tauranga
1981 - Te Puke
1982 - Tauranga
1983 - Tauranga
1984 - South Waikato
1985 - South Waikato
1986 - Tauranga
1987 - Te Awamutu
1988 - Te Awamutu
1989 - Te Awamutu
1990 - Te Awamutu
1991 - Maniapoto
1992 - Maniapoto
1993 - Otorohanga
1994 - Maniapoto
1995 - Maniapoto
1996 - Matamata
1997 - Matamata
1998 - Te Awamutu
1999 - Western Bay of Plenty
2000 - Western Bay of Plenty
2001 - Central Bay of Plenty
2002 - Hamilton
2003 - Hamilton
2004 - Central Bay of Plenty
2005 - Te Awamutu
2006 - Te Awamutu
2007 -Hamilton
2008 - Hamilton
2009 – 2018 - Te Awamutu
2019 - Central Bay of Plenty