On Saturday 17 September 1921, the deciding test of the first Springbok Tour was played at Wellington’s Athletic Park. New Zealand had won the first test 13-5 at Carisbrook and South Africa the second test 9-5 at Eden Park.
In August 1961 my Dad took me to see my first test match. All Blacks versus France at Wellington’s Athletic Park, although with hindsight it was more like New Zealand and France combined versus the weather.
Not that wind and rain were a negative for my ten-year-old self. That seemed to be one of the great things about rugby: it was so important that you were allowed to play in the rain. There was even some thought that the muddier you got the better you had played, the more heroic your effort.
John was one of a generation that became involved with weather forecasting during the Second World War. After leaving Auckland University College in 1937 he went teaching, and then was commissioned in the Meteorological Branch of the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942. He served in the Pacific Islands, where forecasters often flew with aircrews as observer/gunners, and occasionally took part in combat.
This article was originally written by Erick Brenstrum and published in New Zealand Geographic, issue 99 September-October 2009
This article was written by Erick Brenstrum and originally published in New Zealand Geographic, issue 76, November-December 2005.
WMO TURNED SIXTY
Ranfurly Shield Rugby in the Snow. Source: The Weekly News, August 1939
Years ago, I heard the wife of a lighthouse keeper talking on the radio about the weather at Puysegur Point, on the south coast of Fiordland, where she and her husband had been stationed for a time. Six months or so before they arrived there, a fishing boat had gone down in a storm with all hands. One day, as she walked along the black stony beach, something white caught her eye. Bending over, she picked up a single human tooth.
One of the pleasures of reading history is coming across stories about the weather. Thunderstorms often figure in these. One of the most dramatic examples was recorded in the sixth century AD, by Gregory, Bishop of Tours, in his Historia Francorum (The History of the Franks).
With rainfall well above normal this winter, it has been a great time for slips: big ones cutting major road and rail links in Kaikoura and other places and thousands of little ones making small mischief on roads and properties all over the country. Houses in Auckland have been threatened for days by slow moving slips, while, in Milford Sound, tourists watching waterfalls had to sprint to safety when the sound of the rain took on a deeper rumble and tonnes of rocks and trees crashed down on the spot where they had been standing.