With over 35 years of faithful service to Marist St Pats, our outgoing Chairperson Rob Evans was awarded Life Membership at our Annual General Meeting.
The class of ’89 produced some noticeable Marist St Pats stalwarts. Better known as the Marist St Pats Rheineck Colts Champions, in 1989 they beat archrivals Petone at Fort Dorset, Seatoun, on a Sunday afternoon.
Among this group was a tall, lanky loose forward named Rob Evans. A Silverstream Oldy Boy, Rob came from a family with a strong Marist background, with his father Ron a founding MSP member, the inaugural Chairman in 1971, President, and life member.
That background has come in handy in a career with Marist St Pats that has spanned over 30 years.
After a few years at MSP in the late 80’s Rob headed off on his OE, returning to the club in the mid-90s, serving as club Secretary in 1997. He gained valuable experience about the running of the club listening to all the problems that a season of club rugby brings to the table.
From 1998 to 2002 Rob was club captain, a job that is not an easy task, but allowed Rob to oversee the playing ranks and built his leadership contribution at MSP. Rob was awarded the W M O’Connor Memorial Cup for Outstanding Club Member in 1998.
This period was highly successful for the club winning 3 Jubilee Cups and many other grade championships. In particular, the 2002 season was one of the club’s most successful, with the Premier team winning the Jubilee Cup, and the Premier 2 team unbeaten in the first round, and making the semi-finals of the Hardham Cup. The Senior 2 were unbeaten in their first round, and the colts won their grade as well. These successes don’t happen without cohesive leadership across the club, and Rob was central to that.
In 2001 and from 2004 to 2005 Rob joined the management committee and in 2001 joined forces with life member John Spillane to coach the under 21A colts to win the Paris Memorial Trophy in the 1st round competition.
Whilst being on the Committee, Rob also took on the Premier team manager role in 2005. This boy likes to be busy!
After a few years living in ‘Straya In 2014, Rob returned home and became Board chairman of Marist St Pats, a job that he was well seasoned for, with years of experience at all levels of activity within the club.
With his career taking him to Nelson, as CE of Nelson Airport, Rob continued in the Chairman role for a period. But, being a true Marist man, when he decided chairing Marist St Pats from Nelson wasn’t conducive to either party, he took up the same role at Nelson Marist and oversaw a successful period in their history, winning the premier competition during his tenure.
From 2019 to the present day, Rob has led MSP as Chairman of the Board, a job he has carried out with distinction and leadership through some difficult times for the club. Managing through the covid period being one.
Rob has been a tireless worker behind the scenes, never afraid to roll up the sleeves and take on any task that needs doing. From setting up Evans Bay on a wet Saturday morning, to driving the social aspects of the club, Rob is constantly busy with MSP business. He has been integral to securing significant sponsorship partners over this time with Higgins Concrete and Cool Moves being a couple of the more recent significant partnerships.
Rob also played a significant leadership and fundraising for the highly successful tour of Australia earlier this year. This is another example of Rob’s belief that nurturing our younger generation is critical for the ongoing success of the club.
And as all rugby clubs grapple with the complexities of the game in the modern era, Rob has done much to reinforce the traditions of this great club, while at the same time overseeing its evolution in the modern age. This has included the development of the club haka, Mariu Whakamautai in 2022, along with the MSP Hieke design being added to the club jersey, honouring all cultures in the Club.
And very significantly, this year, our Premier Women’s team won the women’s competition, the Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy for the first time. Rob has been a staunch advocate and supporter of the women’s game in MSP.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the sheer volume of time Rob has given to the club. Being on the Committee with him over the last few years, I’ve really come to appreciate just how much he does – from governance, to commercial, to player recruitment, people management, issues resolution, and the odd legal stoush! He really does a full-time job on top of a full-time job.
In recognition of the many notable achievements outlined, and others not mentioned, I have pleasure in nominating Rob Evans as a Life Member of the Marist St Pats Rugby Football Club.