Rotorua's Famous Sports People
Rotorua people are really into sports as is shown in the number of sporting clubs we have here :
Swimming, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bowls (Indoor & Outdoor), Cricket, Equestrian, Fishing, Gymnastics, Hockey, Jogging & Walking, Marching, Martial Arts, Netball, Petanque, Rugby, Rugby League and Touch Rugby, Squash, Tennis, Water Skiing... to name just a few!
So it's only natural that we have some top sports athletes such as Dame Susan Devoy, Dame Naomi James, Valerie Adams, Steven Adams, Jim Love, Danny Lee, Buck Shelford, Simon Wi Rutene...
most, if not all, of these people no longer live in Rotorua but we still claim them as ours!
Wayne (Buck) Shelford was "Born and bred in Rotorua with a typical Kiwi upbringing, along with his brothers Brett, Dean and Darrall, the latter two whom went on to play for Combined Services including Bay of Plenty, respectively. Shelford's father Nathan, had played league and rugby as a young man, and was a champion woodchopper, his mother Mavis was a former South Otago representative netballer.
Shelford started his rugby days as a first-five in Western Heights Primary School team where he made the Bay of Plenty representative side." Excerpt from "Buck Shelford: the man, the story, the truth" by John Matheson To read more about this well known rugby star, this book is available from the Maori Collection on the 2nd floor of Rotorua District Library.
Susan Devoy (Dame) born in Rotorua to Tui and John Devoy, a sister for Brendan, Michael, Paul, Mark, Julian and Gerard... the first girl in a family of six young boys!
"Squash was a big part of the Devoy household well before I came on the scene. They all played - Mum, Dad, (and all 6 boys)... It was Brendan who started things off by getting involved in squash almost as soon as former national coach Colin Brownlee opened his squash courts in Rotorua in the 1950s.... 'I suppose I first picked up a squash racket as a way to kill time'" Excerpt from "Susan Devoy: out on top" by Robyn Scott-Vincent.
Susan went on to become Number one in the World rankings continuously from 1983 to 1992 when she retired, New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year 1985, 1987, 1988. To read more of Susan's story her book is available to borrow from the New Zealand History/Travel section on the 2nd Floor.