Tom Ellison

(1867 - 1904)

Tom Ellison
Tom Ellison was a remarkable figure in the early days of New Zealand rugby and one of the most enduringly influential the game has known.

Ellison’s first impact was when he was playing for Poneke in Wellington and helped devise the wing forward position to counter marauding halfbacks.

Ellison was also a contributor to the evolution of the distinctly New Zealand five-eighth position. He was one of the outstanding figures on the New Zealand Natives’ tour of Britain in 1888.

In 1893, at the first annual general meeting of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, he proposed successfully that the playing uniform for the New Zealand team should comprise a black jersey with a silver fern. Fittingly, he was captain of the first New Zealand team, in 1893, to wear the new colours.

Ellison was also believed to be the first Maori admitted to the bar.
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