Heremiah Ngata, also known as Herry and latterly Harry, was born in the New Zealand North Island coastal town of Whanganui. As a teenager he played for Porirua Viard United, a club based in the Porirua suburb of Wellington in New Zealand. The club’s chairman hailed from Hull and befriended 1980s City manager Brian Horton, which led to an exchange programme that involved young New Zealand talent spending time with the Hull City youth setup and Hull City’s youngsters spending the summer months playing in New Zealand. Herry was the first NZ player to benefit from this exchange programme and travelled to Hull in 1988.
After working his way through the Youth Training Scheme setup Herry impressed City manager Stan Ternent enough to earn a first team debut in January 1990, becoming the first footballer of direct Maori descent to play in the English Football League. Ngata stayed with City for two more seasons, inhabiting the fringes of the first team squad but always giving 100% when called upon. After 13 substitute appearances Herry was handed his first senior start in May 1991 against Plymouth Argyle. By the end of the 1991/92 season It was apparent that Ngata was not going to sustain a career in English professional football and he returned to New Zealand.
His experience in England paid dividends. Herry served several New Zealand and Australian teams between 1992 and 1998 and won international honours during this period. In July 1998 he made the unlikely move to Irish League side Bohemians – Irishman Joe McGrath worked for the New Zealand FA between 1996 and 1998 before returning to Dublin to take the reins at Bohemians and he bought three New Zealand internationals with him to boost the Bohs squad, including Ngata. Herry played only five times and scored once before McGrath was sacked and the New Zealanders were eventually paid off and returned home.
In 1999 Ngata joined Football Kingz FC, New Zealand’s first professional football club that competed in the Australian National Soccer League until the club disbanded in 2004 – Herry scored 27 goals in 127 appearances for the Kingz in those five years. He retired from playing in 2004 and became a well known New Zealand football pundit while working for the Puma sportswear company.
Herry made his senior international debut for New Zealand in April 1993, coming off the bench to score against Saudi Arabia. He went on to win 28 caps and scored two further goals in June 1999 against Oman and July 1999 against Egypt, winning his final cap in June 2001 against Vanuatu.
Nationality: New Zealand
Date/Place of Birth: 24 August 1971, Whanganui (New Zealand)
Hull City First Game: 20 January 1990, West Ham United A (Division Two), 18 years, 149 days old
Hull City Final Game: 25 February 1992, Huddersfield Town A (Division Three), 20 years, 185 days old
Porirua Viard United, Hull City (1988-1992), North Shore United (1992-1994), Melbourne Juventus (1994-1995), Thomastown Zebras (1995-1996), Bulleen Inter Kings (1996-1997), North Shore United (1997-1998), Bohemian FC (1998), Football Kingz (1999-2004)
Hull City Record
Career: 27 apps, 0 goalsHerry Ngata
|1990/91||1 (9)||0||-||-||0 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1991/92||7 (4)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-|