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Ten more must-haves for Hall of Fame

The 1950 Ranfurly Shield-winning team. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED


I’ve received some interesting comments around the establishment of a Wairarapa Sports Hall of Fame, especially around the original members.

Not so much who I have included but who missed out.

It was pointed out that with 20 inaugural inductees, and a couple more added each year, it would take an age to recognise all the worthy candidates.

To recognise that, I am naming a further 10, to take the initial intake to 30.

A reader also asked why the likes of Olympic great Sir Murray Halberg was left off the list, given that he was born in Eketahuna.

A bit like Black Cap Jesse Ryder, Halberg left the region at a young age, and their inclusion could well be appropriate depending on the final selection criteria.

Keith Reid

A two-test All Black in 1929, Reid was a hooker in Wairarapa’s 1927-29 Ranfurly Shield era. He played 108 first class games, a rarity in the years when provincial rugby was sparse.

Reid went on to coach Wairarapa to an upset 3-0 Ranfurly Shield victory over Canterbury in 1950.

Governors Wairarapa

In Wairarapa’s basketball heydays in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Governors Wairarapa would attract capacity crowds to their home games in the War Memorial Stadium. Payers Nick Mita, Piki Kerr, Riki Paiti, Jason Russo, and 6ft 10in American Frank Smith became household names.

The team’s crowning glory came in August 1990, when Masterton hosted the National Second Division finals. They beat Waikato Warriors in the semifinals and then the Nelson Suns in the final the following night.

Reon Sayer represented New Zealand at the 1998 and 2000 Eisenhower Trophy.

Reon Sayer

In the mid-late 1990s Carterton’s Reon Sayer was New Zealand’s best amateur golfer.

Sayer won the Bledisloe Cup for best amateur at the 1998 New Zealand Open.

He represented New Zealand in the Eisenhower Trophy in 1998 in Chile and in Germany in 2000.

Sayer then turned professional in 2004 and played on the Australasian circuit.

Penny Hunt

Sprinter Penny Hunt [nee Haworth] represented New Zealand at an Olympic Games and three Commonwealth Games.

A member of Athletics Masterton, Hunt won several national titles in the 100m, 200m, and 400m.

Penny Hunt represented New Zealand in the 1972 Munich Olympics and three Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/FILE

At the 1972 Munich Olympics, she ran a personal best of 52.66 seconds to make the quarterfinals of the 400m.

Hunt competed at the 1970, 1974, and 1978 Commonwealth Games, making four finals.

Joanne Duffy

A blind skier from Eketahuna, Joanne Duffy won a gold and a bronze at the 1994 Winter Paralympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Duffy won the downhill in the B1-2 category in a time of one minute and 28.58 seconds, more than nine seconds clear of the Spanish silver medallist.

She backed that up with a bronze in the Super G.

Kevin Percy

Kevin Percy represented New Zealand in hockey from 1955-1962.

A centre forward, Percy was a vital player in the team who finished fifth at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he gained his reputation as an enforcer.

Percy also represented Wairarapa in cricket and basketball.

A hard-hitting top order batsman, Percy held the club record score of 255 and was considered unlucky not to have represented Central Districts.

Wairarapa 1950 Ranfurly Shield team

Wairarapa was one of five teams to hold the Log o’ Wood in 1950.

Wairarapa went into their challenge against Canterbury as rank underdogs after a 16-0 loss to Otago, who had lost the Shield to the red and blacks.

However, a strong forward effort rattled the Canterbury team and Wairarapa held on for a 3-0 win from a dropped goal by fullback Alf Mahupuku.

Alan ‘Kiwi’ Blake

Kiwi Blake came to prominence, playing 24 games for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force team, the ‘Kiwis’ on their UK tour after World War II.

Blake played one test for All Blacks in 1949 against Australia, but was unlucky not to be named for that year’s tour of South Africa, when non-white players were prohibited from touring.

Blake played 29 games for NZ Maori, despite being of African-American descent, and represented Wairarapa on 108 occasions.

Liduina Melchers

As a 16-year-old, Liduina Melchers ran for New Zealand at the 1973 world cross-country championships in Belgium.

A member of Masterton Harriers, Melchers was part of a New Zealand contingent that included Anne Garrett [nee Audain], Heather Thompson, and Rod Dixon.

The women’s team finished fourth and Melchers was a credible 44th in a star-studded field.

The following year, Melchers ran the Rotorua Marathon, and then won the race in 1975 and 1977.

Wairarapa Hawke Cup cricket team 1951

Wairarapa won the Hawke Cup, NZ Cricket’s most prized trophy for minor associations, for the first time in 30 years, with a first innings win over Hawke’s Bay in January 1951.

Captain and future New Zealand international Murray Chapple led the way with a century, a feat that he repeated in the first challenge against Manawatu.

Wairarapa’s reign as Hawke Cup holders was short-lived, losing to Waikato in their second challenge.

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