On a cold, crisp evening I pulled into the Eketahuna club. Weary from a long day on the road, just in time to catch the boys throwing back a cold one. Practice was over and each of the guys made their way home. 
 The coach and I stood outside and marveled at the old restored stand and he shared the story of its restoration with me. He was just about to lock it up, when he stopped and asked me, when I had last taken a shower? A couple or so days I reckon was my reply. He told me lock up after yourself and if you wanna make your meal in there don’t burn the place down.
 So there I was, in this beautiful old stand with as much hot water as I liked and a chance to cook a meal. Which I did on the wee burner, with fire extinguisher close at hand. I sat in silence enjoying my meal and let the voices of coaches and players past fill my mind, all the while wondering who may have graced this fine old ‘stands’ dressing room. A quick clean up for the coach and locking the door behind me I returned to the wee van. Content, cleaned up, and full of that warm spirit that is rural New Zealand.

 On a cold, crisp evening I pulled into the Eketahuna club. Weary from a long day on the road, just in time to catch the boys throwing back a cold one. Practice was over and each of the guys made their way home. 

 The coach and I stood outside and marveled at the old restored stand and he shared the story of its restoration with me. He was just about to lock it up, when he stopped and asked me, when I had last taken a shower? A couple or so days I reckon was my reply. He told me lock up after yourself and if you wanna make your meal in there don’t burn the place down.

 So there I was, in this beautiful old stand with as much hot water as I liked and a chance to cook a meal. Which I did on the wee burner, with fire extinguisher close at hand. I sat in silence enjoying my meal and let the voices of coaches and players past fill my mind, all the while wondering who may have graced this fine old ‘stands’ dressing room. A quick clean up for the coach and locking the door behind me I returned to the wee van. Content, cleaned up, and full of that warm spirit that is rural New Zealand.

Another review I found

Grassroots rugby in NZ gets a boost


For a country which has books of photographs showing off all its scenery spilling over on shop bookshelves, New Zealand has not been especially well served with photographic records of its national game.

But the times they are a changing.

Photographer Gregory Crow has taken to the road to capture the images of grassroots rugby in New Zealand, the oft-quoted foundation block of the game, and Gregor Paul has been enlisted to add the words.

For the Love of the Game by Gregory Crow and Gregor Paul. Published by Exisle. Price $49.99

The result, in Rugby World Cup year is a satisfying depiction of the game as it exists, largely in the provinces, and which is so vital to the sustenance of the more high profile professional game.

All the usual aspects of the game are covered, with written emphasis delving into both the origins and meaning they give to the game and the result is a seamless combination of picture and word.

The book follows in the path of the grandfather of them all, Peter Bush’s outstanding, The Game for All New Zealand – a book based on the baseball classic, The Game for All America.

Bush produced some more, albeit based on the All Blacks, but his original took in all aspects of the New Zealand game in an outstanding record. It took rugby photography beyond the tour publications that used to follow major tours of the country by the likes of the British and Irish Lions and the Springboks, during the 1960s and 1970s.

Others have followed but more focused on the retail appealing international scene.

This is where For the Love of the Game marks its difference. It is devoted to the club, and it comes through superbly.

For the reviewer the section devoted to Bluff v Riverton, two of the oldest ports in New Zealand, and two of the oldest rugby rivals is especially poignant.

The image of club stalwart Ron Rouse, Southland representative and club identity as coach and administrator is a reminder of years spent covering rugby in the south. It is also sad that Rouse has subsequently died, around the time of publication.

Yet his presence in the book is a reminder that his involvement at his club was something replicated at every club in New Zealand. His generation did a fine job in ensuring the rugby message was passed through to subsequent generations.

It is up to those generations to pass the rugby flame – so long as they do New Zealand’s rugby future is assured.

Crow and Paul have offered firm evidence that the ingredients for continued survival are there, they just need to be applied in the right fashion. And perhaps it is not without some relevance that the centrepiece of the striking cover photo, grassroots rugby epitomised, is a referee.

These are the people who are the most obvious sign of the health of the grassroots game, if refereeing numbers are down the problems arise.

Rugby is at a crossroads in New Zealand. The professional game has been bedded down, the amateur game is still finding its way. But Crow and Paul have shown the value of the amateurs in a memorable package.

adrienne-ford:

1. Follow Your Curiosity “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
2. Perseverance is Priceless “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
3. Focus on the Present “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the…

Tane

 I met Tane one early morning in Tolaga bay on the East Coast of Aotearoa (NZ). He had been watching me from a hill, where he was sitting on his horse observing the sun rise. Kia ora bro came a voice from behind me. I was startled to find anyone else awake at 5-30 am. He was a quiet man who watched me and we began to speak of the area his life, and my project. This shot came when he noticed his horse that he had been riding bareback broke free and was galloping off down the beach, much to Tane’s dismay. After a failed attempt at luring his steed back, he walked on his way and I agreed to post him a couple of pics to the local 4 square.

Dream Apartment building
For the Love of the GameCheck out the review in June’s M2 magazine www.m2magazine.co.nz/ Fantastic 6 page review on ‘For the Love of the Game’. Very grateful.

For the Love of the GameCheck out the review in June’s M2 magazine www.m2magazine.co.nz/ 
Fantastic 6 page review on ‘For the Love of the Game’. Very grateful.

Where for art thou … elusive possession in the sky?  Dargaville rep tourney. 

Where for art thou … elusive possession in the sky?  Dargaville rep tourney. 

 The dance and the extension of the line-out are captured here as the fog clears from Cass square, Hokitika, early in my travels. A team called the ‘Kiwi’s’ face a team in black, how appropriate. The night before was spent in the Quillian mobile (brother-inlaw’s 1986 Holden station wagon) freezing my ass off, so on upon arriving in Hokitika, I chickened out and went for the warmth a small hotel/bar and bedded down after a warm shower. Ahhhh yes those early winter Westcoast nights.     

 The dance and the extension of the line-out are captured here as the fog clears from Cass square, Hokitika, early in my travels. A team called the ‘Kiwi’s’ face a team in black, how appropriate. The night before was spent in the Quillian mobile (brother-inlaw’s 1986 Holden station wagon) freezing my ass off, so on upon arriving in Hokitika, I chickened out and went for the warmth a small hotel/bar and bedded down after a warm shower. Ahhhh yes those early winter Westcoast nights.     

Listener review

For the Love of the GameCheck out this weeks “Listener” for a passionate and compelling review of “For the Love of the Game” by Bruce Ansley. www.listener.co.nz
New Zealand Listener – Political, Cultural and Literary life of New Zealand – Homewww.listener.co.nzThe New Zealand Listener is New Zealand’s only national, weekly current affairs and entertainment magazine. It covers the political, cultural and literary life of the country - New Zealand Listener