Neven MacEwan played Junior Competition Rugby in Wellington in 1953 for Wellington Teachers College and was selected that year for the Wellington Junior Representative Team. The next year, 1954, he joined the Athletic Football Club and was selected for their senior side and became a regular member for the next fourteen seasons. He was selected for the Wellington Representative A Team in 1954 at the age of 20 and retained his position in the team for the next thirteen seasons.
In 1955 he trialled for the ALL BLACKS and was selected as reserve for the 2nd Test against Australia at Dunedin. Neven made his debut for the ALL BLACKS the next year 1956 against the South African Springboks in the second test at Athletic Park, Wellington, as number 8. He became the first choice lock forward from 1957 until 1962. Selection of the ALL BLACKS then were made after Trial, North Island vs South Island, matches. This process gave players in minor Unions the opportunity to experience and develop their skills in games surrounded by the best players showing good form. Teams were always picked on form.
In 1959, Neven MacEwan was working with Shaw Savill and Albion Shipping Company a position he had taken up in 1958 after initially training and being a school teacher. His last appointment was at Rongotai College where one of his pupils was Graham Williams(All Black 1967-68). Neven MacEwan played 52 matches for the ALL BLACKS including 20 tests. But he was dropped for the final test against the Wallabies in 1962, when for the first time Colin and Stan Meads were used together as locks.
That was to be the end of MacEwan at ALL BLACKS level. He was plagued by injuries for much of the 1963 season and missed his chance of making the tour of Britain and France.
While he received another ALL BLACKS trial, his 16th, in 1965 the rest of MacEwan's career was spent almost entirely with Wellington.
Ironically, even though he was by now considered an international has-been, MacEwan produced in his latter years some outstanding rugby for Wellington.
He was part of a powerful pack which was the basis of Wellington's back to back wins over the Springboks in 1965 and the Lions in 1966. His last match for the province was in the dramatic 12-all Ranfurly Shield draw with Hawke's Bay.
In 1963/64 Neven MacEwan played a season of rugby in London playing for Blackheath Football Club as captain. He was also selected to play for the England Barbarians Club.
Returning in 1964 to New Zealand Neven took on the responsibilities of Captain, Coach and Selector of the Athletic Rugby Club and won the Premier Competition – The Jubilee Cup – in 1965.
In 1966 Neven Organised and Captained Athletic RFC World Tour to England, Ireland, Hong Kong & Japan.
1968/71 Co-founded, and worked for, the travel company MacEwan-Williment World Travel, Wellington, NZ
1972-79 Public Relations Officer for the city of Palmerston North, NZ. In that roll he Coordinated the fundraising activities for Palmerston North’s contribution to the 1974 Commonwealth Games.
1975/76 Organised the Ranfurly Shield parades for the city of Palmerston North, NZ. 1975 Developed the concept of Palmerston North being a conference venue for New Zealand and founded the Convention Centre Bureau.
1976-79 Neven was elected a City Counsellor of Palmerston North and Chairman of the Economic Development Committee.
1976-1979 Neven was Chairman of the Rugby Museum Society of New Zealand and in that roll in 1978 organised the official opening of the Rugby Museum by the Governor General of New Zealand in its first official home.
1979-1985 Massey University Laboratory Technician in the Large Animal Hospital of the Veterinary Science Faculty, Palmerston North, NZ.
1986-1989 Executive Director Prison Fellowship of New Zealand, Palmerston North, NZ
• Developed a volunteer support network throughout New Zealand to support the prison chaplaincy work.
• Established financial support from the church community for the ministry of Prison Fellowship from it’s infancy in New Zealand in 1986 through ‘Project 500’
1989-2005 Prison Chaplain, Manawatu Prison, Linton, NZ
• Responsible for organising a group of 260 volunteers to encourage change of principles and values with people in prison
1991 Ordained a Vocational Deacon of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa
1999 Named one of the Legends of Wellington RFU Team of the Century
On the 29th of October 2005 Neven MacEwan retired from the chaplaincy roll at Manawatu Prison.
His son Angus had arranged to take his father to Wales to receive back one of his All Black Jerseys that he had given to Joe Rooney in 1975 for his old Club Cilfynydd R F C. The Cilfynydd Club had graciously agreed to return the jersey to the family on the grounds that Angus bring his Dad to the Club in order that they may present and honour his father with a special function at the Club.
This function took place on Friday the 5th November 2005 and one of the first people Neven met at the function was Roddy Evans the British Isles Welsh lock forward who Neven had marked and battled against in first three tests of the series. Both missed the last test Roddy with a broken leg and Neven ruled unfit because of measles. Both had never seen each other since the tour in 1959 and for the first time now able to greet each other with an added dimension of the common faith they both now have, and were able to worship together on the Sunday after the All Black match against Wales. It was an amazing night of great memories and a highlight in Neven’s memories of the great players of that great British Isles Team of 1959 lead by Ronnie Dawson and a list of great players.
Neven married his school sweetheart, Jeannette Moulder in Dunedin on the 21st May 1958. Jeannette and Neven had four wonderful children. Douglas (1959) Bruce (1961) Angus (1964) Jeannie (1968) and have10 wonderful grandchildren – Neven, Christopher, Lachie, Elena, Jayne, Campbell, Brenna, Alyssa, Joseph, and Alexander. Jeannette and Neven have both retired and still live in Palmerston North.