Rugby Jamboree III Wrap Up

Thanks to everybody who attended Rugby Jamboree III and made it another success.

Wrapping up the event, there were many highlights such as the high calibre of displays and presentations, and the number of people keen to display their wares.  (Two extra tables were needed to cater for the demand.)

The first exhibitors set up on Friday night, and already we saw breath-taking objects that would be the envy of most collectors.  Michael and Wayne Francis were busy setting up jerseys, boots and two large framed works - the original artwork for the New Zealand Rugby silver fern.  Drawn up by designer Dave Clarke in 1985-86 it remains the logo for New Zealand Rugby today

Paul Robilliard laid out his objects, a James Lowe fan, Paul had a complete set of his kit, including boots.  Plus a framed NZ Presidents jersey - no. 13, Grahame Thorne from 1973, also the swansong series for Colin Meads.

Another early to set up was Mark Fowler, who had come up from Dunedin. Mark had 140 life member badges, representing over 2,000 years of volunteering, and club and union administration. Mark’s badge collection must be one of the most impressive in New Zealand, although he noted the museum had 16 badges he didn’t have… Mark’s display featured a badge from every provincial union (including the now defunct ones such as Golden Bay and Chatham Islands).

The main Saturday morning set up went smoothly. Claude Pichot had mostly brought team photos but also had his post card and sport card collection.  Claude had so much material he brought a second table to cope.  Justin McCullough specialises in sports cards, especially rugby sports cards. So much so that he produced a book on rugby sports cards in 2008.  Justin’s knowledge of cards is unmatched and he is a great contributor.

Specialising in collecting memorabilia from the women’s game, Carolyn Gilbert had Black Ferns jerseys from when the team was simply, ‘New Zealand Women’.  Carolyn and regular participant Tina Downes show that the Jamboree isn’t just a men only event.  Tina keeps us on our toes with her industry knowledge of jersey manufacturing.

Michael Bruce spoiled us by bringing not one, but two Colin Meads jerseys.  Michael is an expert jersey identifier, and is willing to share his knowledge.  On Sunday he spoke about the differences in various jerseys from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  Ferns, labels, numbering and stitching around the ‘v’ of jerseys are clues.

Jason Timutimu again brought a selection of his collection.  Jason also spoke on Sunday when he presented on the history of the St Stephens ‘Tipene’ School 1st XV.  Their amazing winning record in the 1980s and 90s and the school sole All Black, Dallas Seymour.  Jason finished his presentation with a fine rendition of the school haka.  A real privilege for us to see.

Ian St George and his wife Kristy, along with friend Elaine Westlake and her husband Richard were crowd favourites.  Ian had rediscovered the 1924-25 ‘Invincibles’ ‘Loving Cup’ in 2020.  That had encouraged the meeting with Elaine.  Her father Cliff Porter was the captain of the All Blacks in 1924-25, 26, 27, 29 and 30. Becoming the first long-term All Blacks captain.  A book was long overdue and Ian recognising that, penned a biography.  Ian’s presentation about ‘Offside’ Porter drew a number of questions and observations on Sunday.

Mike Parkinson has completed volumes four and five of the New Zealand Rugby Records. Now all first class games from 1870 to 1903 are covered.

Chris Jansen showed off his ever growing collection, his latest jersey, that of Black Ferns Sevens superstar Michaela Blyde, and his RWC 2024 signed referees jersey.  On Sunday Chris presented on his work gathering referee information for all international Sevens tournaments.  His main source for the 1990s and 2000s is footage of the games.

From Wellington Paul Reilly brought up the day’s most interesting piece. A sign from Athletic Park just before the old park was demolished.  His acquisition story was entertaining.

From across the ditch, Michael Fahey and Eric Lemon represented Australia. Michael was selling his excellent book on the history of the Wallabies jersey.

Only able to attend on Sunday, Steve Coles, spoke about his fascinating and revealing interviews with surviving 1970s-80s era All Blacks and Kiwis. The videos are on his facebook page ‘Rugby & Rugby League Collection NZ’.

John Lea of the group Rugby Historians and Statisticians gave a talk about the need to create a central repository for rugby research and statistical projects. One reason is that people working in isolation are replicating the same thing.  And in the long-term for those thousands of hours people have put into websites, databases, lists and spreadsheets, a place the project can be left for another member to continue with.

Te Manawa museum offered visits to the Peter Bush store to see where the long and important task of digitising the Peter Bush collection will take place.  Talei Langley, Juliet Galuszka and Eleyna Rider presented about the project and their need for volunteer support and funding.

One of the highlights was the Saturday dinner, at a local pub with the Hurricanes beating the Chiefs on the big screen.  Casual dining at its finest.

The next Rugby Jamboree will be held in March 2026 to avoid clashing with club rugby.

*For those interested in purchasing the books, the rugby museum has copies of all five Volumes of NZ Rugby Records, the Cliff Porter biography and the History of the Wallabies jersey.

Original Silver Fern artwork, and thanks to the Mainland Foundation for sponsoring the day

Mark Fowler badge display

Paul Reilly has a great Wellington set of memorabilia

Two Colin Meads jerseys!

Elaine Westlake and Steve Coles