Kaikorai Rugby Football Club, Lynn Street, Dunedin – a brief history

Colours: Blue Black and White hoops

The white was added in 1960 and blue shorts in 1976.

1883 The Kaikorai Football Club came into being after a meeting of local youthful enthusiasts.

1884  Kaikorai affiliated with the Otago Rugby Football Union and the entry of a team into the Junior Competition was the highlight of the 1884 season.

1885 and 1886 were building years

1887 the team came of age and was entered in the Senior Competition.


1888, under Captain Dave Torrance, Kaikorai won the premiership or, in today’s terms, the Premier I competition.  Their record for 1888 was played 7, won 6 and drew 1.  Points for 20, against 3.

1889 they again won, their record this time being 7 wins and 3 draws from 10 games.  63 points for and 13 against.

1893  Kaikorai won the Premier banner again and this was the start of an amazing run of winning for 7 years.  1893 – 1899, this record in the Dunedin club competition remains to this day.

The next win was 1901 and then not until 1914.  They were again victors in 1921.

​​​​​​​The competition for the next 75 years was dominated by University and Southern winning 58 times. 

Kaikorai next won the banner in 1997 captained by Andy Hunter.

2016  Kaikorai won its 14th Premier banner.  Captained by Blair Tweed and coached by Andy Hunter (1997 Captain), Kaikorai defeated Dunedin 29-22 at Forsyth Barr Stadium on 23rd July 2016.


During its 139 year history to the completion of 2023, Kaikorai has produced 3720+ rugby players, many of whom have gone on to higher honours.

Over 150 players have been selected for Otago;   in 2023 Kaikorai contributed 3 players - Henry Bell, Will Tucker and Christian Lio-Willie.  

Nineteen Kaikorai players have been Highlanders (refer Hall of Fame).  Kaikorai has been a host Club for seven other Highlanders - Ash Dixon (2017), Dan Pryor (2017, 2018), Adrian Smith (2017), Jack Whetton (2019), Jordan Hyland (2019), Ngane Punivai (2021) and Liam Coombes-Fabling (2022).  

2023 saw our 2022 home-grown Highlander Christian Lio-Willie play 16 games for the Crusaders while lock Will Tucker joined the Highlanders and played 6 games.

In recent years, 17 players have been selected in age and other sides for New Zealand; brothers Arthur and Shane Stone NZ Maoris 1987-88-89, Kelvin Middleton New Zealand A 2000, Alando Soakai NZ Sevens 2006-07 & Junior All Blacks 2009, Tony Ensor NZ Sevens team 2014, Christian Lio-Willie NZ XV 2022.

NZ Under 21; Tom Harding 2002, Toby Morland 2003-04, Craig Clare 2005

NZ Under 20; Kyle Harris 2014, Josh Renton 2014

NZ Under 19; Glenn Kenworthy 1993, Tom Harding 2001, Toby Morland 2002, Ezra Taylor 2002, Semisi Ta'eiloa 2022

NZ Maori Under 18; Liam McIntosh 2022

Also coming from Kaikorai ranks have been players selected for national teams of other countries:  Brendon Laney Scotland, Mike Mika Samoa, Seko Kalou Fiji, Tomasi Palu Tonga, Iakopo Petelo Mapu Samoa and Jonah Aoina in 2021 for Manu Somoa.

Last but most important are our 14 All Blacks and our one 1888 New Zealand Native team member.  While most of our All Blacks were selected from 1897 to 1929, our 2 most recent have been Mike Brewer (1986) and Byron Kelleher (1999). 

Mike Brewer played for Kaikorai 1987-1992 and played a total 61 games for the All Blacks including 32 tests.

Halfback Byron Kelleher, born in Dunedin, was a member of Otago Boys High School First XV for 3 years 1993-95 being captain in the last year.  In 1996, he played for the Kaikorai winning Colts team and 1997 was a member of the Premier winning side.  Byron scored 11 tries in 1997 including 4 in one match.  The 4 in one match remains a club record that he holds with 4 other players.  Byron went on to play 46 matches for Otago, his first being in 1997 against Bay of Plenty.  He first played for the Highlanders in 1998 and played 54 matches in total.  His All Black career started in 1999, his first game was against New Zealand A coming on to replace Justin Marshall after 59 minutes.  His first test was a week later against Samoa again coming on as a sub for Marshall.  His first starting test was in New Zealand’s 101-3 win over Italy at the 1999 World Cup.  Byron went on to play 58 games for NZ, all were tests except his very first game.  He played in 3 World Cups – 1999, 2003, 2007 – a fine record for an outstanding Kaikorai rugby player.

In 2023 Kaikorai fielded 6 mens sides: Premier I, Premier II, Seniors, and three Colts teams plus one Womens team which competed in Premier Development Grade.

Kaikorai also fielded 3 ladies Netball teams.


Special features of 2023:

Winning the Ainge Trophy - Top performing Club in Dunedin Club Scene

   ·     The Colts-Undertakers won the Championship Colts banner for the third consecutive year in succession

   ·     The Premier II team won the Mens Premier Development grade

   ·      The Seniors won the Mens Open Grade winning all 15 games played

   ·      The Womens team won the Womens Premier Development Grade