What is the Chatham Cup?

The Chatham Cup is contested by teams from throughout New Zealand, and has been held annually since 1923 with the exception of 1937 and 1941–44. Typically between 120 and 150 teams take part, with extra time and penalty shoot-outs used to decide matches which end in ties. In the past, replays were used, and in the early years of the competition the number of corners won during a game decided tied matches.

The cup itself was gifted to the then New Zealand Football Association by the crew of HMS Chatham as a token of appreciation for the hospitality they had encountered on a visit to New Zealand.

The HMS Chatham was a Town-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 1910s. She was the name ship of her sub-class of the Town class. The ship survived the First World War and was sold for scrap in 1926.

The cup, which cost £150, was presented to NZFA President Sir Charles Skerrett by Captain Cecil Burnaby Prickett on board the Chatham on 14 December 1922. The actual trophy is modelled on the FA Cup.

Sir Charles Skerrett was also the fifth Chief Justice of New Zealand, from 1926 to 1929. He was born in India. His father Peter Perrin Skerrett was born in Ireland and descended from the Skerretts of Finavera in County Clare; originally the Skerretts were one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway. He was a sergeant in the Army in India; as he lacked a private income needed by officers.

The family moved to New Zealand when Charles was 12. He was educated at Wellington College. He joined the Post Office, then the Treasury, then to the Department of Justice as a clerk in the Wellington Magistrates' Court.