Situated in Palmerston North, the New Zealand Rugby Museum tells the history of our national sport, and is full to overflowing with all sorts of rugby memorabilia, including a turnstile from Athletic Park, previously the home of Wellington rugby. Robin had long wanted to visit this museum, and as it was only a half hour drive from where were we staying, it was the ideal opportunity.
The rugby team relies on the goal kicker, who is an integral part of the game, and his mighty boot has saved many a game from defeat. On display was the kicking boot of that all time great, Don Clarke, as well as that of the hero of modern times, Dan Carter.
Rugby boots from Don Clarke and Dan Carter
Colourful rugby jerseys line the walls. Displayed were those of the provincial teams, and those worn by international sides. Hats, badges, rugby balls and whistles, all sorts of items and some that we hadn’t even thought of had a home in the museum.
On the 1925/26 tour of Great Britain, the New Zealand team took along a stuffed kiwi in a glass case to give to the first team to beat them. The All Blacks won game after game and the kiwi continued touring with them. The undefeated All Blacks returned home, bringing their kiwi back with them.
The touring kiwi came home
It was interesting to see how the logo of the silver fern developed and changed over the years. This icon of New Zealand is proudly displayed on the All Blacks uniforms.
Sets of gold coins were issued and collected by enthusiasts. This set was produced by the Birmingham Mint to commemorate the All Blacks who filled each rugby position with the greatest distinction over a 50 year period, from 1921 to 1971.
As a rugby player in his youth, and a keen supporter of our national game, Robin certainly enjoyed his visit to the museum, reminiscing about the great players, the overseas tours, the wins and even the losses. He enjoyed watching re-runs of some of those famous games. Rugby is certainly part of the psyche of New Zealand.