New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce, former Governor-General of New Zealand, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM QSO has been appointed as New Zealand Rugby League’s Patron.

Sir Anand has a long-standing connection to the game of rugby league which he says encompasses multiple layers.

“Firstly, as a youngster, I came from a sport loving family.  My father was GP who was the doctor for the Auckland and New Zealand Rugby League teams in the 1950s and 1960s. My brother and I would accompany him to Carlaw Park on many winter weekend days whilst he was on duty and we enjoyed the games, mainly Club but also Internationals.

“Secondly, as a young lawyer in Auckland in the 1970s, I spent time on the Rules and Interpretations Board when Rugby League shifted to the six tackle rule.  Thirdly, at the end of the 1970s when there were negotiations necessary about transfer fees when players went off to Australia and England, I spent some time on the NZRL Council (as the Deputy Delegate for the West Coast) which was a way of getting a legal mind on the Council for these purposes. When I became a Judge in 1982 I needed to resign from these offices but have maintained an interest in the code as a television watcher and attender at fixtures.”

When asked what he loves about the game, Sir Anand pointed out the excitement that takes place on the field as well as the benefits it brings to many people off it as well.

“It is an exciting free-flowing brand of football that places great emphasis on ball distribution and encourages, to a high level, essential physical skills of running and jumping…It promotes camaraderie and teamwork but also prepares people for participation in life more generally. I see the game growing even more as the game of choice among the country’s Māori and Pasifika communities and for women as well as men.”

Sir Anand says being NZRL’s Patron enables him the opportunity to reignite his connection with the sport and with those in charge of running it.

“The Rugby League family will not have changed over years and it will be good to have a connection with it again and to follow the efforts of the Rt Hon Helen Clark and Sir Peter Leitch as patrons of the recent past.”

Greg Peters, CEO of New Zealand Rugby League says Sir Anand’s appointment marks an exciting time for NZRL.

“Having such an influential figure as our Patron is extremely beneficial to the direction our organisation is heading – we’re very grateful to Sir Anand for accepting our invitation,” Greg said.

“He has a strong league connection and has already had an impact on the game in New Zealand as a member of the Council of New Zealand Rugby League and Secretary of the Rules and Interpretations Board.

“Currently, we’re working to emphasise our More Than A Game philosophy, where we aspire to transform lives and community well-being through Rugby League. Sir Anand epitomises this philosophy through his years of public service at a local and parliamentary level, as well as the notable impact he has had on our Māori and Pasifika communities throughout his remarkable career.


“Having Sir Anand as our Patron will only strengthen the important work we’re doing in this area and hopefully further the impact we have off the field.”