TĀMAKI TREASURE: 1982 Kiwis Rugby League team

October 20, 2022

TĀMAKI TREASURE: 1982 Kiwis Rugby League team TĀMAKI TREASURE: 1982 Kiwis Rugby League team

TĀMAKI TREASURE: 1982 Kiwis Rugby League team

A year since it was delayed due to Covid-19, Rugby League World Cup 2021 has officially kicked off with the Kiwis halfway around the world trying to win back the Cup. But back home in Tāmaki, another treasure has been found.

Former representative and Panmure resident Mark Gillespie has shared with Tāmaki Regeneration a rare team photo from back in 1982 taken at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Kiwis toured Australia and Papua New Guinea and played four games, winning one against the latter.

To give you an idea of how far back this was, Thomas Leuluai – who recently retired this year after playing his last game against Leeds Rhinos at the age of 37 wasn’t even born. His father James was in this team. There’s also a connection to the current captain of the England cricket team Ben Stokes. His late-father Gerard is third from the right in the back row.

Other future greats included Mark Graham, Hugh McGahan, the Tamati brothers Kevin and Howie, and the late Olsen Filipaina. Many fans of Rugby League remember Filipaina’s battles against Wally Lewis in the ‘80s. In one contest at Carlaw Park, he ran through him, around him, and over him.

These players listed above would go on to inspire generations of aspiring League players like Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Benji Marshall, and of course, today’s current crop who are chasing glory in England.

Back Row: Peter Mellars, Mark Broadhurst, James Leuluai, Gary Kemble, Owen Wright, Hugh McGahan, Wayne Dwyer, Gerard Stokes, Gary Prohm, Howie Tamati.

Second Row: Olsen Filipaina, John Griffin, Kevin Fisher, Dane O’Hara, Kevin Tamati, Lewis Hudson, Bruce Gall, Tony Coll, David Field.

Seated Row: Cecil Mountford (coach), Shane Varley, Mark Gillespie, Mark Graham (vice-captain), Graeme West (captain), John Whittaker, Fred Ah Kuoi, Gordon Smith, Clayton Friend, Jim Campbell (assistant coach).