This week's Newsmaker is Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers. Mr Rogers has played a key role in organising the Bayleys National Sevens Rugby Tournament, which takes place this weekend.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Christchurch, spent most school years in Hamilton. I went to St John's College in Hamilton.

I love to travel following sport. Played rugby, basketball and tennis in my youth. Married to Amy and have three children Sophie, 7, Emma, 5, and Matthew, 3.


Tell us about your role as chief executive of the BOP Rugby Union?

It's a very diverse role and interesting due to this. The role involves a number of facets including human resources, commercial and strategic planning and public relations to name a few.

We have a small team that services a large number of people and a significant geographical area. Sport and rugby face a number of challenges including generating revenue and keeping up to speed with changes in our society. There's a big focus on these areas.

What do you love about rugby?

Rugby creates so many fantastic opportunities for people. The sevens explosion is a great example of this. Young men and women now have a pathway to represent New Zealand in the Olympic games.

I love the pride and passion that rugby brings out in our communities. I especially enjoy seeing how rugby has different generations with all ages (both male and female) able to participate and contribute to the sport in a number of different ways.

What do you think is great about having the sevens in Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty?

Given the significant size of the event and interest it generates, the sevens provides an opportunity for Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty to showcase itself to the rest of New Zealand and the world.


The community has the opportunity to be involved, take ownership and be very proud of what we can deliver. There are also fantastic economic benefits from an event this size. If we can deliver an outstanding event we will demonstrate that we can host other events of this size which will be great for the Bay of Plenty.

What does it mean to the teams to have the event in the Bay of Plenty?

I know the teams involved loved the experience in Queenstown. It is our job to ensure they have an even better experience in Rotorua. I think the teams will really enjoy the stadium as a facility, and the great accommodation offered in Rotorua through the Holiday Inn and Distinction Hotel.

I am sure the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty community will go along and support the event and create a fantastic atmosphere that the players will enjoy playing in front of.

How do you think the Bay of Plenty teams will perform in the event?

Well the men have never won the national title so that is definitely the goal. In saying that, the improvement across all the 16 provincial teams means that anyone can win. I think this is the great thing about sevens - it is so unpredictable.

The women are attending the tournament ranked 9th out of the 10 teams but I am confident they will out perform that ranking. I know that both our teams will play with passion and pride and do their best to represent the Bay.

Who do you think are some of New Zealand's rising rugby stars?

This is a question that Sir Gordon Tietjens should answer given his ability to spot talent!

The amazing thing about rugby is every year more young players make a name for themselves. There are so many good young players that it is hard to single it down to a few. If you look at a player like Ardie Savea - he has played sevens, Super Rugby and been away with the All Blacks and he is only 20 years old!

In terms of this tournament a think a player like Ihaia West from Hawkes Bay is someone to keep an eye on. He had a great ITM Cup and has some brilliant skills that will be on show.

Last year Mason Walker from Rotorua Boys' High School was one of the stars at the national sevens and I am sure someone else will put their hand up this year.

Tell us three things about yourself that most people wouldn't know.

I have been a qualified professional tennis coach. I spent a year in California attending high school and playing basketball. I have three brothers and one sister and all but the oldest are involved in the sports industry in New Zealand.