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Burt passes it to Burt, who passes it to Burt

HELEN HOLT
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A century ago, there were enough Burt family members in Featherston to form a rugby team. And over the Easter weekend, the Burts have been back celebrating the 100-year anniversary.

The team in 1922 came about when they realised there were enough people with the surname ‘Burt’ in Featherston. Some were related, others were just a coincidence.

The team competed in a Wellington rugby tournament, and notably beat the strong Petone side.

The team photo from 1922 had all the players lined up, and the names below were shortened to first-name initial and surname, of which they all shared.

At the time, Burt was a strong name in Featherston, with the Burt clothing store on the main street, owned by Tom and Graham. Other Burts owned farms around the area.

On Saturday, the next generation of Burts came from far and wide, to play a game for the 100-year anniversary.

“We organised another team, just for a one-off game,” Glenn Burt said.

The friendly match against Featherston League team had 17 Burts running onto the field during the course of the match.

Commemorative jerseys were ordered with the Burt family crest, with their surnames on the back. However, the jerseys got stuck in transit, so the team instead wore Featherston colours.

The game has been in the making for the past few months. Some players travelled from as far as Te Puke and Nelson to participate. The team was multi-generational, including Glenn Burt playing with his two sons.

The players’ ages ranged between 15 to 60.

Many of the players are grandsons and great grandsons from the original team.

Communications manager Nick Burt said they wanted to have as many Burts on the field as possible.

“We wanted the starting 15 to be Burts, but we needed non-Burt family members to be reserves.”

He had hoped for at least 25 players as reserves “because I know I’ll only be good for five minutes at a time.”

There was a pre-match get-together on the Friday and a family reunion after the game.

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