The Hurricanes (formerly known as the Wellington Hurricanes) are a New Zealand professional Rugby union team based in Wellington that competes in the SupeRugby competition.
The franchise represents the East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Horowhenua Kapiti, Manawatu, Poverty Bay, Taranaki, Wairarapa-Bush, Wanganui and Wellington provincial Rugby unions, and currently plays at Westpac Stadium, having previously played at the now-defunct Athletic Park.
The franchise was formed to represent the lower North Island with the conception of the Super 12 tournament in 1996, which featured teams from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The Hurricanes had a poor first season, but rebounded in 1997 with a third placing. The team did not reach the play-offs for another five years as the team struggled in the bottom four of the table. Since 2003 the Hurricanes have made the post-season play-offs five times out of the last eight seasons; including the 2006 final, which they lost in horrendously foggy weather against the Crusaders 19-12.
The Hurricanes play the majority of their home matches at the 34,500 capacity Westpac Stadium on Wellington's waterfront. The stadium is affectionately known as The Cake-Tin throughout New Zealand due to its shape, although the locals refer to it as The Stadium.
It was opened in 2000 to replace Athletic Park, where the team had been previously based. Yarrow Stadium (25,000) (formerly Rugby Park) in New Plymouth, Arena Manawatu (formerly the Showgrounds) in Palmerston North and McLean Park in Napier have also played host to Hurricanes matches.
In the initial years of the competition the Hurricanes played once, or occasionally twice, away from their Wellington base depending on whether they had five or six games per year. Such a policy was welcomed given the large geographic area the team and helped generate the teams following.
However, in recent years the team has seldom ventured from Wellington with the team's board citing full crowds in the Westpac Stadium and less than full venues in the provincial centres and the impact on the revenue generated by the team for the franchise unions; despite the expansion to 14 teams meaning one additional game per year.
The team's colours are yellow and black, which represents the colours of Wellington and Taranaki (the two initial major unions in the franchise) with trim colours of dark blue and white adding representation of the other franchise unions (black and white for Hawke's Bay, blue and white for Horowhenua-Kapiti, blue for Wanganui, white for Manawatu (along with green).