Charles Monro (1851 - 1933) is credited with introducing the game of rugby to New Zealand. He returned to Nelson from schooling in England, where he had played the game of rugby. While a hybrid game of football was played in New Zealand at the time, it was Monro who persuaded the Nelson club to try the Rugby School rules and so its adoption in New Zealand began. He continued to play rugby until 1875.
In 1889 Charles and Helena Monro bought land in Fitzherbert (now part of Massey University) and settled there with their family. By this time he was largely involved with other sporting codes such as golf (he was a founding member and first president of the Manawatu Golf Club), croquet, billiards and snooker, and he maintained an interest in polo. His involvement in rugby largely took the form of occasionally watching a game.
On the occasion of the centenary of rugby in New Zealand in 1970 a memorial was unveiled at Massey University, and in 2011 a statue was erected to his memory outside the NZ Rugby Museum. The New Zealand Rugby Union honoured him with the Charles Monro Memorial Trophy which the Union awards annually to the Volunteer of the Year.