Te Rau Kahikatea Theological College was established in 1883 to train Māori for the Anglican ministry and became the birthplace of the longest surviving rugby club in the Poverty Bay Rugby Union, the YMP Rugby Football Club. The Club itself has its origins when the Young Māori Party, a political group headed by Sir Apirana Ngata, Dr Maui Pomare, Dr Peter Buck and Frederick Bennett, was promoting the philosophies of Māori social advancement. They did this by encouraging the revival of Māori culture and promoting the benefits of good health and housing and good education through the formation of sports and cultural groups to partake in inter-tribal competitions.
The Young Māori Party Football Club was formed after a meeting at Te Rau College in April 1910.
The following article appeared in the Poverty Bay Herald on Tuesday, April 5th, 1910. “The annual meeting of the Young Māori Party was held at Te Rau College last night. After the election of officers for the ensuing year, the advisability of forming a football club was thoroughly considered in connection with the party. The meeting was unanimous in forming a club, to be called the Young Māori Party Football Club, for the Saturday competition. A meeting of those interested in the formation was then held.”
At the first meeting, it was decided the club colour should be red and black. From the formation until approximately 1922 the club based itself in Gisborne during which time its membership encompassed all tribal groups from the East Coast through Gisborne city to the outlying rural areas.
However in 1923 the club was officially adopted by Manutuke and to mark the occasion, club colours were changed from black and red to the present-day colours of black and white.