The Tamaki Lightning was started in 1999 as one of the founding clubs of the Gridiron New Zealand (GNZ) organisation. Frustrated at how the sport of American Football was being run, this new league focused on promoting juniors football along with improving the fundamental football skills and overall general level of play.
As a result the early years of the Tamaki Lightning were highlighted by the number of teams available to the community. Not only did we have the Premier (seniors) Team that still plays today, there was also U13, U15, U17, U19, 8-a-side, and Women’s teams playing in competitions. To provide a top level of coaching to all of these teams, the first 10 years of the Lightning also featured a number of international imports from around the world – The United States, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and Austria to name a few.
Although being competitive in all of their early years across all grades, it was not until 2005-06 when the Lightning tasted its first and only Championship victory, where following some mixed results during the regular season, the Lightning stepped their game up in the playoffs to post over 70 points without conceding any in the semi-final and final.The following year the Lightning were back in the final against the South Auckland Raiders, where the Lightning suffered a heart-breaking loss after 6 Overtime periods, a game which remains a New Zealand record for the longest game ever played.
2008 - Present: AFA Unification
The 2007-08 season saw the Tamaki Lightning and the rest of the GNZ league re-unite with the teams from the NZAFA. After strong showings throughout the season and a solid semi-final win, the Tamaki Lightning again went down in the final to the Metro Lions.From 2008-09 season through to the present day the Lightning’s Senior team results have remained strong, missing out on the play-offs only once in this period.
The Lightning Colts were also successfull during this period, appearing in the Unity Bowl finals (Colts Championship game) in the 2009/2010 Season. The Lightning rebuilt our youth program with the introduction of the Juniors in the 2013/2014 Season and the Colts in the upcoming 2014/2015 Season. With all three grades back in the fold, the club looks to have secured our future, will full continuity of player development from the age of 14+
The Proud History of the Tamaki Lightning American Football Club