Wellington Rugby's Newest Director Brings Up a Ton with the Whistle
Numbers on a page, to numbers in a lineout. All in a week’s work for one of Wellington Rugby’s newest Board of Directors member, Hamish Mexted.
During the week, Mexted is running his own accounting firm, Convex. By the time Saturday rolls around, you’ll find him on the rugby field. Mexted founded Convex in 2011, and has since grown the company to nearly 20 staff members.
Mexted’s responsibility on the Board is finance, with a particular focus on financial stability. He says the work that goes on behind the scenes becomes a lot more visible seeing rugby from the perspective of a Board member.
“It’s a privilege to be in such a position, it’s important we can see what we have to get right for the rest to fall into place in such a crucial section of the organisation.”
“A lot happens behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see, and you appreciate that a lot more being able to see it first-hand, something that is well replicated across all the clubs in Wellington.”
Wellington Rugby CEO Shannon Paku is glad to have Mexted onboard and is excited with the wealth of knowledge he brings to the table.
“Hamish is a great addition for us with his strong financial background, and a strong link back to the Wellington Rugby community with his service as a referee.”
When he’s not working, family time and rugby take over. The 39-year-old father of three spends Saturday mornings coaching his son’s junior rugby team, before taking the field himself in the afternoon, as one of Wellington’s leading referees.
This weekend, Old Boys University host Paremata-Plimmerton in the final round of the Rāranga Swindale Shield. Mexted will be the man in the middle, set to officiate his 100th Premier game. 19 years after his Premier debut in 2004, the focus heading into this weekend doesn’t differ from game one all those years ago.
“Personally this is a huge honour to bring up this milestone. To have the trust of everyone around me to do this week in week out is special. Every week I step onto the field I am reminded how lucky I am to be out there at a level I never would have made as a player.”
“Dad coached me when I played rugby as a junior, and frankly I was hopeless. I then played soccer through high school. In 2002 I decided to reach out to David [Walsh] and the rest is history.”
Mexted refereed his first game of rugby that year, an Under 55kg qualifier between Upper Hutt College and Newlands College, a match he recalls as one of the highlights of his refereeing career.
“I remember being so excited to get my first game under my belt, that match will forever be one of my favourite rugby memories.”
Mexted’s focus switched away from rugby to family in 2013, prompting him to take some time away from the game, to raise his three children (eight-year-old twins, and a seven-year-old). He then picked up the whistle again last year, and compares the feeling of returning to that of when he refereed his first game at Premier level.
“I took a break from everything, and coming back was extremely exciting. My Premier debut came very quick and early on in my career, but this time I had to work to get back into the Premier frame, unsure if I was ever going to make it back to that level.
Mexted refereed the Jubilee Cup Final in 2013 between Tawa and Oriental-Rongotai at the Hutt Rec, with the venue set up for the All Blacks game of three halves, a highlight amongst many for Mexted.
“The atmosphere in that final was unmatched. The temporary seating was set up and the stands were packed.”
“I’ve had some great experiences in my career to date. In 2006 I refereed East Coast v Poverty Bay at Whakarua Park and was breath tested on my way to the ground, the cop then turned out to be my Assistant Referee.”
Officiating at such a high level often means you will come across stars, but the true feel-good about giving back to the game for Mexted, is the club stalwarts encountered along the way.
“In my time I’ve been lucky enough to referee players like Jonah [Lomu], Tana Umaga and Ardie Savea, but the ones that stand out are the club legends like Eugene Smith, Earl Va’a and the Norths 100 club, to name a few.”
“Often people will say without a ref there is no game, but you also can’t overlook how lucky the referees are to be out there involved in the game. You as a referee don’t make the hard calls, they make themselves, and you are just there to call what is happening in front of you.”
“I love being part of the rugby community. To work alongside everyone that makes this game possible truly makes the rugby community a special one to be a part of.”