Rotorua's Sports Tradition began in the 1880s
Did you know just how far back our sporting heritage goes? I didn't until I picked up a book about Maori Rugby "Beneath the Maori moon: an illustrated history of Maori rugby" by Malcolm Mulholland. Rotorua's Warbrick family featured in NZ's first ever national rugby side in 1884.
In "100 Maori Sports Heroes" Joe Warbrick is remembered for his prowess on the rugby field.
"Joe was born in Rotorua to an English father, Arthur Warbrick, and his wife Ngakarauna Paerau, a Maori Princess of Ngati Rangitihi. Joe was one of five children, and also had seven half-brothers and sisters from his father's second marriage to Harina. He was sent away to the Native School in Parnell where he studied (and played rugby) until 1878, after this he spent some time in Wellington and played for them in 1879, by 1882 he was back in Auckland playing for North Shore. Later he played for the New Zealand tour of Australia in 1884... he did not stay in one place for long however and played for many other teams throughout New Zealand.
Sadly Joe Warbrick died when the Waimangu Geyser erupted on 30 August 1903, his brothers Arthur and Frederick also played on the 1888 Natives tour also died young, but their legacy remains to this day.
Read his story and reflect on his legacy, along with his team mates, to Maori Rugby in New Zealand. Also covered in this book are the following Rotorua people : Wayne Shelford, Ruia Morrison, Peter Martin, Simon Wi Rutene, Tilly Vercoe, Michael Walker, Philip Orchard, Millie Khan, Steve McDowall, Dean Bell, Bill Gray and Dick Pelham.
Available to read from the Maori Collection on the 2nd Floor at 796.092z ROM