Sir John Kirwan was on TV this morning with Jeanette Thomas. When I think of Sir John, I think of my mom sitting with Michael Jones‘ mom, Aunty Maina, at the rugby football park in Northland, in the test match where MJ & JK were both whipper snappers, going for a rugby dream.
You’ve never heard Maori and Samoan mums scream and shout louder in the stands. Nerve-wracking days, both MJ & JK would be successful in being selected for the All Blacks team. It was to be no ordinary team. When Michael got in the All Blacks it was a huge shift in New Zealand consciousness.
The Iceman went on to lift achievement for young people all over New Zealand and the world. Along with Zinzan Brooke, Sir John didn’t do too badly either. A shift abroad proved his worth as a coach and sports brand of entertainment.
Jeanette Thomas has the interview of the Italy, Japan (and now Auckland City) rugby coach talking family, teenagers and having his sights set on a ten-year-career as a coach in New Zealand.
Messages: (Humble) - ”Ten years coaching, then I plan to exit.” “Don’t want to die with music in me.” “Taking a Sir title is not about the title, it is about the reasons.” “Incredibly honored, incredibly humbled, I feel now I have to live up to it.” “If I can help one person through fear, I was a Sir,” he says (paraphrased).
Thomas describes Sir John Kirwan as being a living legend. Watch interview.
The legendary 1987 All Blacks Team included: John Gallagher (Wellington), Craig Green (Canterbury), Joe Stanley (Auckland), John Kirwan (Auckland); Warwick Taylor (Canterbury), Grant Fox (Auckland), David Kirk (Auckland); Wayne Shelford (North Harbour); Michael Jones (Auckland), Gary Whetton (Auckland), Murray Pierce (Wellington), Alan Whetton (Auckland); Steve McDowell (Auckland), Sean Fitzpatrick (Auckland) and John Drake (Auckland), Andy Dalton (Counties), Richard Loe (Waikato), Zinzan Brooke (Auckland), Bernie McCahill (Auckland), Frano Botica (North Harbour) and Bruce Deans (Canterbury).
Rugby was so much fun during these years. Crazy times of sport. It wasn’t so rigid and there was more passion in the game, just for the love of the sport on display. These lads inspired a nation during crucial years where our culture evolved. They were my childhood heroes. The dream team of dreambuilders. With only two channels on TV to choose from, radio commentators in action, no cell phones of any kind and no internet in those days to distract an audience, their celebrity was huge and unparalleled in New Zealand in their spokespersonship roles. They were the voice that shaped a culture. Their words mattered. As a result, they were everyone’s heroes.
What they said and did would shape a nation with depth and meaning. Like all Kiwis of my age-group, in part I too am the product of their character, humour, zest for life and the many gifts of culture that they created on the go, and gave us all as their people.
I could write a book about each one to explain all the pictures of culture they created and shared with their avid audience. They weren’t paid for what they gave, yet they willingly showed generosity of spirit and gave it anyway. Why they are still our bright heroes today. Their ‘books’ they all authored without credit, are a nation of Kiwis. They are some of the finest entertainers New Zealand has ever witnessed, the calibre of whom has rarely been seen since. It’s difficult to know what to say to this generation of stars that the local neighborhoods of New Zealand produced, except Thank you for making us Kiwi too – and a cohesive distinctive society of fun loving people with heart and soul.
~Poster Art: Patricio Guzmán files. 1987 Former All Blacks, photographed with Sir Peter Leitch and Sir Brian Lochore. Posted by Horiwoodblog, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 20.7.12~
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