East Coast Union was born out of the Wards previously under the jurisdiction of Poverty Bay Union. On May 23, 1903, a meeting of delegates of the Clubs on the East Coast was held at Tokomaru Bay, and formed the ﬁrst East Coast Union. The Union applied for affiliation as Tokomaru Bay Union, but was not accepted, instead, being joined to Poverty Bay Union.
The latter Union created a Ward for the District, with a local Committee in complete charge. A further application for affiliation was made in 1914, this time as Waiapu Union, but again direct entry was refused. In 1921, however, a meeting representing the various authorities on the East Coast was held on September 4 at Ruatorea (old spelling of Ruatoria), at which it was decided to found a Union for the whole of the area. The Annual Meeting asked for afﬁliation and East Coast Union later called a meeting (on May 6) at Ruatoria, at which Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria, Waiapu and Matakaoa Sub-Unions were affiliated, and the name of East Coast Union accepted. Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay and Ruatoria Sub-Unions had been Wards under Poverty Bay Union, the other two Sub-Unions being new societies.
Tolaga Bay Sub-Union comprised Tolaga Bay City, Tolaga Bay Country and Hauiti Clubs, and was founded in 1919.
When Tokomaru Bay Sub-Union was organised as a Ward in 1903 Tokomaru Bay, Tolaga Bay, Waipiro Bay and Wainui Clubs were in association. Reorganization in 1919 found Waipiro Club defunct and Tolaga Bay Club divided as a neighbouring Ward, the Sub-Union being made up of Tokomaru Bay City, Tokomaru Bay Wanderers and Waima Clubs. Later, Waipiro Bay Club was to return to the area.
Ruatoria Sub-Union was established as a Ward at a meeting held in Ruatoria on September 13, 1919, to afﬁliate to Poverty Bay Union; the Clubs engaged were Ruatoria City, Hikurangi and Valley Clubs.
The change to Sub-Union rating was made on May 13, 1921, at Ruatoria, Waipiro Bay Club (revived) being added.
With East Coast Union founded, the northern area was created a Sub-Union under the name of Matakaoa Sub-Union, the Clubs affiliated being Tokararangi, Te Araroa, Te Araroa Wanderers and Hicks’ Bay Clubs.
Waiapu Sub-Union was created this season also, covering the area between the Ruatoria and Matakaoa Sub-Unions. The Clubs affected were Tikitiki City, Port Awanui, Rangitukia Rangers and Waiomatatini Clubs.