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Taranaki Stories

These stories capture the very essence of Taranaki – the people and the landscape.
They record the achievements of those who live here, the struggles of the first settlers, the determination to overcome challenges, those who have made their mark on not only their own, but also future generations.
But the stories are not just about hardship – they are also inspiring, thrilling, mystifying, enlightening and entertaining.
 
 

 

Taranaki Stories

Showing stories tagged as Rugby.

Riots and Rugby

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

When Peter Burke took on the job as All Blacks coach in 1981, he suddenly became Public Enemy No 1.   But only to half the country.    That was the year the Springboks rugby team came to play, much to the dismay of many Kiwis who believed the tour sanctioned South Africa's racist apartheid system. The New Zealand Government, then led by Robert Muldoon, refused to cancel the tour. Protest...

Peter Burke Takes Leading Role in NZ Rugby History

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

Peter Burke didn't believe the news when he was first called into the New Zealand All Blacks. The New Plymouth man was a Caltex tanker driver at the time, and the message was delivered as he pulled into the yard at Port Taranaki. The terminal's manager, Bob Knott, was waiting for the promising young rugby player. "Bob put his hand up and said, 'You've got to get up to Auckland – you're in...

Burke’s Ranfurly Shield Era

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

27 September 1957 - New Plymouth's old Aerodrome. On a fresh spring day, Doris Ridland and her three boys wave goodbye to members of the Taranaki Rugby Team as they board a plane for Dunedin. The watchers are the family of Taranaki Rugby Football Union secretary Jim Ridland, who is flying with the team. The Ridlands are the only people there to farewell the team, which is heading south for a...

Burke has been there, done that

by Rhonda Bartle on 16 December 2009

Peter Burke is the Forrest Gump of New Zealand and Taranaki rugby. For five decades he has been on the spot for remarkable moments of the sport's national and provincial history. Now aged 75, the New Plymouth man can sit back and reflect on a remarkable career, during which he:   Was named in the All Blacks of 1950, 1951, 1955 and 1957. Became the first man to play 100 games of...

Springbok Tour Forces Brave Decision

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

After sleepless nights thinking about rugby and racism, Graham Mourie made the bravest decision of his life. He chose not to play against the South African Springboks rugby team during its 1981 tour of New Zealand. At the time Graham stood down, he was captain of the All Blacks. "I guess with the passage of time, more and more people would say I made the right decision." Which was not...

Rugby Man Quashes Drug Rumours

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

Bitterness is not a trait that sits well with former All Black captain Graham Mourie. But there's one episode in the 50-year-old's high-profile life that has left him with unresolved anger and a sense of powerlessness. In 1994, when Graham was farming full-time at Opunake, a man employed to poison possums found a plot of marijuana growing in some bush on Mourie land.    "So I contacted the...

Mourie’s Parents Reveals Son’s Generosity

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

Graham Mourie's mum, Juan, has been worshipped as the ‘Mother of God’. During a tour of Wales in the 1980s, Juan and husband Colin found themselves revered as the parents of the former All Black captain. Juan laughs at the memory.  "A couple of Welsh boys got down on their knees and said 'Can I kiss your hand?' and asked 'What's it like to be the Mother of God?’"  Colin adds. "They said,...

Graham Mourie – a Man of Conscience

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

One of New Zealand's great men of rugby sits in a comfortable armchair below a giant black-and-white painting of tortured figures. These grotesque bodies are entwined in battle, their distorted faces gasping, misshapen muscles grasping, all for the dominance of an oval ball. This is the rugby version of Pablo Picasso's Guernica. The great man sitting below the picture is Graham Mourie. The...

Ferdinand the Bull – tale of a mascot

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

Taranaki rugby mascot Ferdinand the Bull survived one fire, a goring from boar tusks, a broken back and an attack by police. But in the end he became a victim of fashion. It all began in the early 1950s, when Taranaki supporters decided to challenge Waikato's dairy industry icon. An article published in a Taranaki Rugby Annual 1978-79 tells the story. It says that in 1952, when the...

Halfback Star Dave Loveridge

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

It takes a few seconds to recognise star halfback Dave Loveridge. The famous moustache is missing, turning the former All Black's face slightly cherubic. Unlike ex-teammates Murray Mexted and Graham Mourie, who have been smooth-shaven for a number of years, Loveridge's whiskery appendage made it through to the new millennium. He lost it to a good cause in 2001. "I was actually away...

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