Skip to Content »

100 years of Maori Rugby League

  • September 9th, 2008

The large room at Te Puni Kokiri was full of big men of impressive bearing at the launch of this book by former West Coasters Bernie Wood and John Coffey. Former League greats and their descendants make for an imposing crowd.

I attended in my capacity as WRL Chairman. The two pakeha authors and I were among the smallest men in the room.

Bernie showed a slide show of material turned up by their research, including photos of the Welshman who gave his name to the the (Willie, June, Moana) Jackson clan after absconding from the homeward leg of an England and Wales Rugby Union tour. He was sent home early after being outed for having played a couple of games of the forbidden League.

There was also laughter from the crowd at a 1 1/2 minute fragment of a Maori Rugby League team haka and few phases of play filmed in the early 1920s in Australia. The ‘traditional’ haka as we know it at the beginning of a game has certainly evolved since then.

At $55 (launch price) the coffee table size book is a steal for fans. They benefit from the sponsorship of  TPK, the Lottery Grants Board, Pub charity and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Huia Publishers have created a worthy monument.


Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>