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Barrister to lead review of New Zealand’s Super Rugby model

29 April 2020

The New Zealand Rugby Union has announced Don Mackinnon as the Chair of ‘Aratipu’, the review into the future of Super Rugby in New Zealand.

Mr Mackinnon is the Blues Chair, and will be joined in Aratipu by Chiefs Chair, Tonia Cawood, Hurricanes Chair, Iain Potter, Crusaders Chair, Grant Jarrold, Highlanders Chair, Doug Harvie, Private Investor Representative, Liz Dawson, NZR Chair Brent Impey and NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson.

Photo of Don Mackinnon 1
Don Mackinnon

Aratipu is the designated title for the review as it indicates a growing, regeneration and invigoration. A preliminary report is due to the NZ Rugby board at the end of June 2020.

The findings of Aratipu will be provided later in the year.

“The work we are announcing will look at a range of options for the future of Super Rugby in New Zealand with the goal of offering a competition that engages fans, is financially sustainable whilst continuing to develop outstanding players ready for national representative rugby,” says Don Mackinnon.

The scope of Aratipu will seek to clarify Super Rugby’s role in the domestic high-performance pathway, review the ownership and equity structure and digital rights.

A steering committee, private investor working group and independent parties will also be part of the review process.

All of the five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises’ private licences are due for renewal in 2020. Private investors are currently bought in to four franchises as licensees to run operational functions of the clubs.

The Blues is the only New Zealand club whose licensee is NZ Rugby.

“NZR is committed to SANZAAR and our broadcast agreement with Sky TV for the next five years. The review is about ensuring our Super Rugby remains relevant, sustainable and our fans are entertained and engaged,” says NZ Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Robinson.

Aratipu also factors in the recent impact of COVID-19 to keep the Super Rugby Legacy strong and fit for purpose.

Prior to becoming a barrister, Don Mackinnon was a founding partner of SBM Legal and before then was a partner at Simpson Grierson for 10 years.

He specialises in employment law, particularly private investigations and mediations. As well as being Chair of the Blues, he Chairs World Athletics Integrity Vetting Panel, and is a director of NZ Cricket.

Last updated on the 29th April 2020