One of the 2021 Gwynne Shield referees, Grant Cotterell, was part of the 1974 Te Awamutu Gwynne Shield rugby team when South Waikato won the shield, and also refereed his first shield match in 1984.
He has refereed the tournament on and off since then, although most years he has been an official at the Gold Coast Carnival at that time of the season.
Back then they played their games weekly, rather than the week long tournament, in the Waikato Rovers region.
Cotterell, who played for Te Awamutu United from the age of 5, remembers Te Awamutu winning the Gwynne Shield in 1971 while he was still in primary school.
The thing that he remembers most about playing Gwynne Shield was playing a round robin match on the infamous Rugby Park.
They started off with an open day at Cambridge and played two rounds of competition as there were only two Hamilton teams, Hamilton West, Hamilton East and Lower Waikato (then changed to North Waikato) in their pool.
"[Getting selected] was pretty big back then because there were a lot of kids playing," says Cotterell.
Back then it was only a squad of 20 that were selected.
The 2021 tournament held at Cambridge Memorial Park last month was a celebration of the 100th year of the competition but most likely the last.
It was pretty special for Cotterell to referee the tournament in its centenary year as well as the final.
"Rep rugby brings different players from different backgrounds together for camaraderie, as well as learning life skills like discipline and being a team player," he said.
Another referee, Grant Stuart, who was the assistant referee in the second half of the 2013 Super Rugby grand final, had played in the Gwynne Shield tournament for North Waikato in 1995.
Stuart and Cotterell are two of the longest serving referees in the Waikato.
R.J. Gwynne donated the shield in 1921 for play between Waikato primary schools. It is only in recent times that it has been a competition for sub-union representative teams.
Up until 1941, there were teams such as Marist, Whitiora Primary School, Southwell and Morrinsville District High School playing in the Competition.
Teams from Waipā and Mangakino have also won the shield.
In 1974 there was a South Waikato team and just two Hamilton teams playing against other Waikato sub-union of Matamata, Morrinsville, Cambridge, Te Awamutu and North Waikato.