Ken Gray Academy

The Academy was established in 1996 with the permission of Ken Gray’s wife and family to honour the memory of Ken Gray and his achievements in and beyond the Petone Rugby Football Club.  It was launched at a special dinner by Sir Wilson Whineray, a close friend of Ken and of course an almost legendary front row partner.

The aim of the Academy is the encouragement and development of young people to the highest levels of achievement in rugby football.  The Academy must be therefore an exclusive if not elitist institution and the expectation is that membership at any time will be small. The Academy has a strictly amateur ethos but recognises that the ultimate goal of participants will, quite properly, be the professional levels of the game. The resources of the Academy are used exclusively to enhance the skills and other attributes of participants so that their full playing potential is achieved.
Those entrusted with establishing the Academy recognised at the time that candidates for the Academy will likely need to consider education and training for their lives beyond rugby football throughout the early years of their development in the game.  Accordingly an accompanying aim of the Academy is assistance with education, training and employment.

The Structure of the Academy

The Academy consists of a Trust whose membership was originally determined by the Management Committee of the Petone Rugby Football Club Incorporated within the broadly defined membership categories described below.

(i) A member of the Ken Gray family or a person nominated by them.
(ii) A person not recently involved in the administration of the Club.
(iii) Three persons currently or recently involved with the administration of the Club.
(iv) A legal or investment adviser.

In particular it is expected that the persons in categories (ii) and (iii) will have access to business and potential sponsorship networks as well as having a strong rugby orientation.

Terms of reference of the Trust Board

(i) To encourage investment in the Ken Gray Academy.
(ii) To oversee the investment of funds.
(iii) To make allocations of money to the Management Board to be used to further the objectives of the Academy.
(iv) To appoint annually the Management Board in consultation with the PRFC Management Committee

Board of Management

The Board of Management will consist of up to three persons, appointed annually by the Trustees in consultation with the PRFC Management Committee.
It is expected that members of the Board of Management will be fully aware of the playing objectives of the Club and its financial position and, at least one person, will have a background in tertiary education.

Guiding Principles

Membership of the Academy is open to everyone, current members of the Club, school leavers, persons from outside the Wellington region.  Previous affiliations will not be an impediment to membership of the Academy. The Academy is administered by a Trust Board and is totally independent of the Petone Rugby Football Club but persons selected are expected, but not compelled, to transfer to or continue their playing allegiance with the Petone Rugby Football Club whilst members of the Academy.
Membership of the Academy will normally be limited to 12 months but assistance with tertiary education may extend over a longer period.  Membership in any year will not normally exceed 12 persons.

Terms of Reference of the Management Board

(i) To invite each year prospective participants to register their interest in membership of the Academy.
(ii) To seek appropriate advice on the selection of participants for the Academy.  It is expected that interviews will be conducted with short-listed applicants in which the most senior coaches in the Club and the Club Captain will be involved.
(iii) To select Academy members.
(iv) To recommend to the Trustees, after taking appropriate advice, costed programmes for members of the Academy including any proposed assistance with tertiary education.
(v) To make adjustments, if necessary, in line with any financial limitations that the Trustees consider they need to impose.
(vi) To put in place the personnel and organisational structures necessary to carry through the annual agreed programmes.
(vii) To prescribe any conditions that will attend membership of the Academy including how payments for tertiary education will be applied and accounted for.   
(viii) To engage in appropriate publicity for the Academy and its programmes.
(ix) To do all such other things necessary to advance the aims and objectives of the Academy.


Applications may be lodged with the Secretary of the Ken Gray Academy at any time, but selection is not made until September in each year. The final date for applications for each ensuing year is 31 August.
Applicants should provide the following information:
Postal address:
Date of Birth:
E-mail address if any:
Any history of injury and/or ill-health:
Brief history of involvement in the game:
Secondary School achievements:
Club achievements:
Representative achievements:
Current and prospective educational and/or employment intentions:

The names of two persons to whom the Academy may refer for information and confirmation on playing abilities and prospects (this information will be received and treated in the strictest confidence by the Academy).
Applications to:
The Secretary
The Ken Gray Academy
PO Box 38-168

Or alternatively:
Fax 04 568 7015

How can I help the Ken Gray Academy?

The Academy is financed entirely by donations received from Members and other persons with the welfare of the game at heart. There is no set level of subscription. All donations, large and small are greatly appreciated and will entitle the donor to membership of the Academy and acknowledgement in the Academy’s publications.
Donations should be sent to:         
The Treasurer
Ken Gray Academy Trust
PO Box 38-168

Please include your name and address and the name/company title you would like the Academy to use in its publications if this is different from your own name.
The following is a profile of the late Ken Gray

“A great forward – durable, vigorous, relentlessly pursuing and supremely intelligent.”  
Sir Terence Mclean

Ken Gray was born in 1938 and went to Wellington College.  He joined Petone in 1959 and played Premier Rugby there until he retired in 1970.  He stood 6’ 2’’ and weighed around 16 stone. He played as a lock in his early years but began specialising in front row play in 1961.  He could play on either side of the scrum and did so for the All Blacks.  However it was at tight head that he truly excelled and it was in that position that he formed that incomparable partnership with Sir Wilson Whineray throughout the sixties.  At the opening of the Ken Gray Academy in 1995 Sir Wilson Whineray described him as the greatest prop forward he ever saw. Along with Whineray he engineered a new type of running and handling rugby and scored 9 tries for the All Blacks.  He died prematurely in November 1992.

All Black Record

50 matches for New Zealand including 24 internationals

V Ireland 1963 (won 6 to 5)
V England 1964 (won 14 to 0)
V France 1964 (won 14 to 3)
V Australia 1964 (won 18 to 3)
V South Africa 1965 (won 6 to 3)
V South Africa 1965 (lost 16 to 19)
V British Lions 1966 (won 20 to 3)
V British Lions 1966 (won 19 to 6)
V Wales 1967 (won 13 to 6)
V Scotland 1967 (won 14 to 3)
V France 1968 (won 9 to 3)
V Wales 1969 (won 19 to 0)

V Wales 1963 (won 6 to 0)      
V Scotland 1964 (drew 0 to 0)
V Australia 1964 (won 14 to 9)
V Australia 1964 (lost 5 to 20)
V South Africa 1965 (won 13 to 0)
V South Africa 1965 (won 20 to 3)
V British Lions 1966 (won 16 to 12)
V British Lions 1966 (won 24 to 11)
V France 1967 (won 21 to 15)
V Australia 1968 (won 27 to 11)
V France 1968 (won 19 to 12)
V Wales 1969 (won 33 to 12)

He retired prematurely in 1970 rather than travel with the All Blacks to South Africa in protest to apartheid.
He played for Wellington from 1960 to 1969 most often as captain.
He played for Petone from 1959 to 1969 and as a member and captain of those Premier teams won the Jubilee Cup 4 times the last three in succession in 1967 – 69.
Ken Gray was a man of very high principle who devoted a great deal of his time in later years serving the community in a variety of ways. For this commitment the Queen awarded him the M.B.E.  He was a farmer with a property located on the shore of the Pauatahanui Inlet where the road still bears the family name.  The Trustees of the Ken Gray Academy remain indebted to Ken’s family for allowing his name to be used for the purposes of promoting excellence and achievement in the game of rugby and in life generally, principles which Ken stood by throughout his life.