The challenge shield for the North Harbour Club Premier Grade is named in memory of Major General Sir Les Pearce who was Vice Patron of North Harbour Rugby Union 1985-1988 and became Patron in 1989 remaining in that office until his death in 2002. The Les Pearce Memorial Shield is the Premier 1 grade challenge shield – the opposition may challenge for the Shield at the home venue of the current holder. It is not played for during semi-finals and finals.
Major General Sir Leslie Pearce CB, CBE, OBE, MBE (1918-2002) was a former distinguished Army officer who rose from Private to Major General (1938-1973) and completed his Army career as NZ Army Chief of General Staff in the early 1970’s. Sir Les served in the 2NZEF in Greece, Western Desert and Italy in WW2. He served in many high-ranking positions in the Army in NZ, Australia, Malaya, United Kingdom and was also Deputy Chief of the NZ Defence Force. On leaving the Army in 1975 he became involved in several educational authorities and company boards in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Sir Les was involved in rugby in the Waikato and Auckland, serving as Chairman of the ARFU 1975-77 and was Vice Patron of ARFU before joining North Harbour in 1985. He was a resident of the North Shore region.
Sir Les played two games for Auckland B in 1947 and was a loose forward. He also represented NZ Army for 4 years til 1952 and was Captain in 1950 and ’52. He was manager-coach of the 1952 NZ Combined Services Tour to Australia and an NZ Combined Services selector in later years.
The Major General Sir Les Pearce Memorial Shield was presented to the North Harbour Rugby Football Union by the North Shore RFC Old Boys Association in 2004 and first played for in 2005.