Tuesday 9th April 2019 will signal the end of an era for one of Rugby Leagues longest serving members. The 104th Annual General Meeting of West Coast Rugby League will see Peter Kerridge MNZM stand down from the Presidency/Chairmanship which he has held since 1997, thus completing 22 years as Chair, the longest-serving person in that role. During this time Peter also undertook the role of honorary secretary from 2002, doing both roles for 17 years.
Peter started off his involvement in rugby league in the Kohinoor clubs’ midgets in 1948 and was a ball boy for the senior team which was coached by his father. From there he went on to play for Marist school, Greymouth moving through the ranks and on to captaincy of the Marist U18’s and then the Senior B team. He represented the West Coast in these grades. He also became an executive member and treasurer of the Marist club.
Peter left Marist to join the Referees Association and gave 20 years’ service refereeing every Saturday(schoolboys) and Sunday (adults). He held most of the executive positions in the Referees Association at one time or another and was awarded Life Membership in 1986.
He was secretary/publicity officer of the West Coast Rugby League supporters club for 30 years organising functions, raising funds, launching and organising the annual player of the year award.
Apart from all the work associated with these roles he also has oversight of Wingham Park, headquarters of the game on the West Coast. Peters participation in working bees at Wingham Park started alongside his father back in the 1950’s. Through all of this involvement, Peter has accepted no payment or honorarium for any of his contributions to the game.
In addition to his roles with West Coast Rugby League, Peter has been awarded Life Membership not only of West Coast Rugby League (2006) but NZ Rugby League (2007). He was awarded Member NZ Order of Merit MNZM in the New Year’s Honours in 2007. He was an NZRL Board member from 2007-2009, Chairman of the South Island Rugby Leagues Committee 2005-2006 and a Board member of the Canterbury/West Coast Sports Trust from 2005-2007.
Rugby league in general, and the West Coast in particular have benefitted from the professional skills and personal qualities of a professional who held one of the biggest jobs on the West Coast, for some 20 years managing the regions public hospitals and allied services. He is in constant demand within the rugby league fraternity and beyond for his professional expertise and deep knowledge of the game and its history.
A longstanding feature of Peters contribution to rugby league is his articles that have been published in programmes, magazines, and newspapers. He has compiled histories from local clubs and West Coast Rugby League. At the present point in time, he is working on the Brunner clubs’ book for their centennial. A major history of West Coast Rugby League awaits completion.
Peter is highly respected for his rugby league input as he is available 24/7 despite other demands on his time as a family man and his wider community roles. Most notable however is the consensus, in and outside of the game, that West Coast rugby league has survived in such difficult times because of the extraordinary contribution by Peter.
Whilst relinquishing the Chairman’s role, Peter will not be lost to the game that he has given so much of his life to. He will continue to support and to offer his time and experience where required. He will however now be able to spend more time working on the many projects that he has wanted to complete.