The Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union was founded in 1884. This makes it the oldest Provincial Rugby Union outside the four main centres. Hawke’s Bay has a very good Ranfurly Shield record with 24 defences from 1922 to 1927, 21 successful defences between 1966 and 1969 as well as 2 defences in 1934.
Hawke’s Bay won the shield again, claiming it from Otago, on 1 September 2013.
They lost the shield soon after to Counties-Manukau, before winning it back from them in August 2014.
Hawke’s Bay’s glory days as a rugby union came long before the NPC was founded. As such Hawke’s Bay does not have a very flattering record in either that competition or the Air New Zealand Cup. The best position they have managed in either is 3rd. Hawke’s Bay dominated the second division of the NPC in the 1990s before the Air New Zealand Cup was set up in 2006.