Chatham Cup

The Chatham Cup, currently known as the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup for sponsorship purposes, is New Zealand's premier knockout tournament in men's association football. It is held annually, with the final contested in September. The current champions of the Chatham Cup are Birkenhead United, who defeated Western Suburbs on penalties (1–1 after extra time) in the 2018 final.[1]

Chatham Cup
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup logo.jpg
Region New Zealand
Current championsNapier City Rovers (5th title)
Most successful club(s)University-Mount Wellington (7 titles)
WebsiteOfficial website
2020 Chatham Cup


The Chatham Cup trophy

The Chatham Cup is contested by teams from throughout New Zealand, and has been held annually since 1923 with the exception of 1937 and 1941–44. Typically between 120 and 150 teams take part, with extra time and penalty shoot-outs used to decide matches which end in ties. In the past, replays were used, and in the early years of the competition the number of corners won during a game decided tied matches.

The cup itself was gifted to the then New Zealand Football Association in 1922 by the crew of HMS Chatham as a token of appreciation for the hospitality they had encountered on a visit to New Zealand. The actual trophy is modelled on the FA Cup.

The most successful teams in the Chatham Cup have been Mount Wellington (seven wins, two of them since amalgamation with Auckland University), and Christchurch United and North Shore United (six wins each). Most of the competition's winners have come from the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, though teams from Dunedin, Hamilton, Nelson, and Napier have also won the competition, and the inaugural champions were from the small settlement of Seacliff, with many of the team being staff from the nearby psychiatric hospital.

The early yearsEdit

Many of the early winners of the competition no longer exist, as competition were not effectively organised in New Zealand until the advent of a national league in 1970, and still remains largely amateur to this day. Many early New Zealand clubs have amalgamated with their neighbours or disbanded.

Prior to 1970, the final was held between the winners of separate North Island and South Island tournaments, with national semi-finals often being referred to as "Island finals". In the early years of the competition, each regional association found its own champion to represent that region in the Chatham Cup, leading to confusion in many of the early records with regional finals, island finals, and the national final all often simply being referred to in contemporary reports as "finals". Further confusion is caused by the incomplete nature of many of the early competition records. It is only since the first publication of an annual New Zealand football yearbook in 1965 that any systematic record-keeping began to take place; earlier match reports and statistics are complete only inasmuch as the vagaries of newspaper sports reporting allow.

Early Chatham Cup competitions were not well supported by the clubs, and the regulations surrounding entry to the competition were often financially prohibitive. The clubs themselves received only a tiny percentage of the money made in gate takings, and often had to travel considerably further to play matches than they did in the provincial leagues in which they competed. Concerns as to the costs involved and the limited financial support from the NZFA for entrants in the competition led to some teams disbanding as a result of the debts incurred, notably early winners Harbour Board,[2] and the competition itself was so poorly supported by clubs as a result that it barely survived its first few seasons. Only some 30 clubs entered each of the first few years of the competition, despite over 450 clubs being registered with the country's football administration in 1924;[3] South Island participation in particular was poor, with only a handful of teams entering in the first few years, and the 1937 Cup was cancelled after only twelve teams nationwide registered entries.

Despite this, large crowds often came to watch the matches, indicating their popularity with the public. The Wellington regional final in 1924 was played before a crowd of 1500 spectators,[4] one in sixty of Wellington's population at the time, and the 1928 national final was watched by a crowd of 6000.[5]

Post-war competitionEdit

Support for the competition among clubs has gained momentum since travel has become easier around the country and the financial regulation of the competition have been eased. Since World War II it has been typical for 100 to 150 teams to enter the competition.

Since the 1960s tournaments have been organised with a preliminary round and (occasionally) a qualifying round, four or five rounds proper, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final. Competition begins in April, and the final is normally played in September. Early rounds are held on a regional basis, between teams within the country's three competition regions (northern North Island, southern North Island, South Island). Different publications often list different numbers for the rounds, making for some confusion as to whether the round before the quarter-finals is the fourth or fifth round in any particular year.

Between 1970 and 2003, when a national league was run between the country's top clubs, national league teams received byes to later stages of the cup competition. The current New Zealand Football Championship, which replaced this league, is contested between franchise teams rather than traditional clubs, and these franchise teams do not compete in the Chatham Cup. There is currently no formal system of byes to later rounds (as there is, for example, in the FA Cup). Several top sides do, however, gain byes through to the second round.

From 1986–1988, the final was contested on a two-match home and away series, but in other years the final has been a single match. In 1952, the final finished 1–1, and the title was shared. A replay was used to decide the 1970, 1972 and 1983 finals, and penalty shoot-outs decided the 1990 and 2001 finals.

2006 – 2011 competitionsEdit


The 2006 Chatham Cup final was played on 2 September 2006. It was contested by Eastern Suburbs (Auckland) and Western Suburbs FC (Wellington). Western Suburbs FC won 3–0 in a penalty shootout after both teams were scoreless in normal and extra times. In the semi-finals, Eastern Suburbs defeated defending champions Central United of Auckland 5–3 on penalties after scores were level at 3–3 after extra time, and Western Suburbs FC comprehensively beat Dunedin-based side Caversham 4–0.


The quarter finals of the 2007 Chatham Cup were played in late July. In these matches, Caversham beat Nomads United (Christchurch), Central United (Auckland) defeated Eastern Suburbs (Auckland), North Shore United beat Hamilton Wanderers, and Western Suburbs FC (Wellington) beat Miramar Rangers. The semi-finals, played in mid-August, saw Central United beat North Shore United 3–1 in Auckland and Western Suburbs FC beat Caversham by the same margin in Dunedin.

The 2007 Chatham Cup final was played on 2 September 2007 in Auckland. Central United (Auckland) won by 10–9 on penalties after extra time.


The quarter finals of the 2008 Chatham Cup were played over the weekend of 19–20 July. in these matches, Dunedin Technical beat Miramar Rangers, East Coast Bays (Auckland) beat Waitakere City, Glenfield Rovers beat Central United (Auckland), and Nelson Suburbs beat Western Suburbs FC (Wellington). Surprisingly, only one of the four semi-finalists had ever previously reached that stage (Dunedin Technical, who won the cup in 1999). This also meant that two South Island sides had made the semi-finals for the first time in over a decade. In the semi-finals, held in mid-August, East Coast Bays beat Nelson Suburbs 2–1, and Dunedin Technical beat Glenfield Rovers 3–2.

In the final, held on 13 September, East Coast Bays beat Dunedin Technical 1–0, to take the Chatham Cup for 2008.


The quarter finals of the 2009 Chatham Cup were played in late July. In these matches, Three Kings United beat Caversham, Wellington Olympic defeated Forrest Hill Milford, Manurewa beat Nelson Suburbs, and Miramar Rangers beat Waitakere City. The semi-finals, played on 30 August, saw Wellington Olympic beat Manurewa 2–0 in Wellington and Three Kings United beat Miramar Rangers 2–1 in Auckland.

The 2009 Chatham Cup final was played on 20 September 2009 at North Harbour Stadium, North Shore City. Wellington Olympic came back from being 1–0 down to Three Kings United after three minutes to win their first Chatham Cup by two goals to one.


The quarter finals of the 2010 Chatham Cup were played in late July. In these matches, Bay Olympic beat Forrest Hill Milford, East Coast Bays defeated Glenfield Rovers, Miramar Rangers beat Wellington United, and Caversham scored four times in extra time to beat Ferrymead Bays 7–3. The semi-finals, played in mid-August, saw Bay Olympic beat Caversham on penalties after a 3–3 draw in Dunedin and Miramar Rangers beat East Coast Bays 2–1 in Wellington.

The 2010 Chatham Cup final was played on 12 September 2010 at North Harbour Stadium, North Shore City. Miramar Rangers led Bay Olympic from the 12th minute, gaining their fourth title by three goals to one.


The quarter finals of the 2011 Chatham Cup were played on 24 July, with wins to Caversham, Napier City Rovers, Wairarapa United and Bay Olympic over Onehunga Sports, Manurewa, Waitakere City, and Dunedin Technical respectively. The closest of these was the Olympic-Technical match, which went to a penalty shoot-out after finishing 3–3 after extra time. In the semi-finals, Napier City Rovers came back from conceding an early goal to beat Caversham 2–1 in Napier, and Wairarapa United travelled to Auckland where they beat hosts Bay Olympic 1–0.

The 2011 Chatham Cup final was played on 28 August 2011 at Memorial Park, Palmerston North, as both teams were from the lower North Island. It was the first time that city had ever held the final. Final debutants Wairarapa United scored early, with Napier City Rovers equalising early in the second half. Wairarapa's winner came just four minutes from the end of the match.

Past winnersEdit

Bob Smith Memorial TrophyEdit

The Bob Smith Memorial Trophy is traditionally awarded to the runners-up in the Chatham Cup, though this has not always been the case, notably in the years 1982 to 1997, when the trophy's location was unknown.[6] Details of each year's runners-up can be found in the individual articles on each year's competition.

Jack Batty Memorial CupEdit

A Jack Batty Memorial Cup is presented annually to the player adjudged to have made to most positive impact in the Chatham Cup final. The trophy honours Jack Batty, who was both a member of the crew of HMS Chatham and also a three-time medallist in the early days of the tournament with Harbour Board, Tramways, and Tramurewa. The cup was donated by his son, John Batty, himself a Chatham Cup winner with Blockhouse Bay in 1970, and was first awarded to Greg Brown of Napier City Rovers in 1985.[7]

Cup recordsEdit

Most cup winsEdit

Wins Club Years Notes
7 University-Mount Wellington 1973, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1990, 2001, 2003 First five wins as Mount Wellington
6 Christchurch United 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1989, 1991
Eastern Suburbs 1951, 1953, 1965, 1968, 1969, 2015
North Shore United 1952, 1960, 1963, 1967, 1979, 1986 Title shared in 1952
5 Central United 1997, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2012
Napier City Rovers 1985, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2019
4 Manurewa AFC 1929, 1931, 1978, 1984 First as Tramways in 1929, then Tramurewa in 1931
Miramar Rangers 1966, 1992, 2004, 2010
Waterside 1938, 1939, 1940, 1947
Western 1936, 1945, 1952, 1955 Title shared in 1952
3 Cashmere Technical 1948, 2013, 2014 First win as Christchurch Technical
Petone 1928, 1930, 1949
Waitakere City 1994, 1995, 1996
Western Suburbs 1935, 1971, 2006 First win as Hospital AFC

Most appearances in finalEdit

Finals Wins Club Most recent appearance Notes
12 7 University-Mount Wellington 2003* first 10 appearances as Mount Wellington
12 6 North Shore United 1995
9 6 Christchurch United 1991*
9 6 Eastern Suburbs 2015*
9 5 Central United 2017
9 4 Western 1966
9 3 Cashmere Technical 2014* first six appearances (including one win) as Technical Old Boys, seventh appearance as Christchurch Technical.
8 5 Napier City Rovers 2019*
8 2 Northern 1962
7 3 Waitakere City 2016

NOTE: An asterisk in the "most recent appearance" column indicates that the team won the Chatham Cup in the year indicated [8]

Other recordsEdit

  • Highest team score (final): 7 – Seatoun (1958) and Christchurch United (1989)
  • Highest team score (any match): 21 – Metro (1991) and Central United (2005)
  • Highest aggregate (final): 8 – on six occasions (1940, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1972, and 1989)*
  • Most winners medals: 6 – Steve Sumner
  • Most final appearances: 8 – Tony Sibley, Ron Armstrong
  • Most individual goals in a final: 6 – John Donovan for Seatoun, 1958
  • Most teams entered: 174 (1991)

* Does not include two-legged finals. The 1972 match referred to is the first match, which finished 4–4.


  1. ^ Voerman, Andrew. "Onehunga Sports beat Central United in penalty shootout to win first Chatham Cup". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Chatham Cup Fiasco". National Library of New Zealand (1127). NZ Truth. Papers Past. p. 15. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Soccer Sidelights". National Library of New Zealand (958). NZ Truth. Papers Past. 5 April 1924. p. 9. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Soccer". National Library of New Zealand (972). NZ Truth. Papers Past. 12 July 1924. p. 8. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. ^ Hilton, T. (1991) An association with soccer. Auckland: The New Zealand Football Association. ISBN 0-473-01291-X. p. 68
  6. ^ "Missing trophy mentioned in 1998 final report". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  7. ^ Hilton, T. (1991) An association with soccer. Auckland: The New Zealand Football Association. ISBN 0-473-01291-X. pp. 176–7.
  8. ^ "Chatham Cup". Ultimate NZ Soccer. Retrieved 11 October 2019.

External linksEdit