New Zealand

Your view: Whanganui's first international women's cricketer

Sorry Hamish, but Jessica Watkin is not the first female cricketer from Whanganui to play at international level.

That honour goes to Mabel Corby who, at 21 years of age, played for New Zealand against England on February 16-18, 1935 at Christchurch.

It was an inauspicious start to international cricket for the New Zealanders who won the toss, decided to bat and were all out for 44. Mabel batting at four was out, hit wicket for one run.

England then made 503 for 5 declared, Mabel bowling 10 overs and conceding 36 runs.
New Zealand did a bit better in the second innings, scoring 122, with Corby run out for 12. The game was over in two days.

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She later toured Australia with the New Zealand side, and she was also a triallist for the national hockey team.

Mabel became a primary school teacher, specialising in physical education, many of these years at Gonville.

She taught many pupils to swim and learn life-saving drills. In later life, she took up lawn bowls at the Nelson Street Bowling Club … one of our great sportswomen.

Mabel Cecelia Corby was born in Wanganui on October 25, 1913, and attended Gonville School. Her father, W S Corby, was the renowned scribe with the Wanganui Herald for 40 years writing under pen names Victor and Archilles.

She died on October 1, 1993.

PETER JOHNSTON ,Whanganui
‘Sin no more’

In response to Chester Borrows’ column of May 18 — sorry, but you are using a passage from the Bible incorrectly by leaving out the most important part.

Our Lord does not condone the lifestyle of the adulterous woman. The bit you forgot to mention is when Jesus says: “Go, and now sin no more.”

The key point here is that she was repentant. It is like saying that we should not condemn thieves because Jesus forgave the thief on the cross. That particular man was repentant — Jesus forgives those who repent.

What the liberal agenda is pushing by abusing Biblical texts like this is the idea that God turns a blind eye to sin; that sin does not actually exist; that Christians should just tolerate anything and everything.

What we are witnessing today is that people like this Israel guy are virtually burned at the stake by the media for openly answering a heavily-loaded question from a reporter who obviously had sinister reasons for doing so.

The only bigotry I see comes from the liberal agenda. Everyone can do or say what they want, except for Christians. One Christian sports guy answers a loaded question and receives nothing but intolerance, hatred and bigoted name-calling.

There is no doubt that Jesus would have acted the same had the adulterous woman been replaced with a homosexual person. As long as that person had the intention of “sinning no more”.

The quote liberals should really be using to support ideas such as Chester’s is this — “Do what thou wilt”. That, by the way, comes from the Satanic bible.

LEONARD RAAYMAKERS, Gonville
Scurrilous allegation

In his column of May 23, Jay Kuten strayed outside what he calls the “boundaries of honest argument”.

Much of what he was trying to say, in a somewhat nasty way, are his own opinions, which I do not intend to dignify with a response.

There are, however, glaring inaccuracies that need to be corrected,

Kuten dismisses concerns that liberalising euthanasia laws will lead to coercion.

The fact is that 70,000 seniors report being physically, psychologically or financially abused each year, and three quarters of abusers are family members. It’s not hard to imagine at least one of these victims being coerced into dying under the new law.

In pointing to the “significant public support” for the bill, Mr Kuten fails to mention that 80 per cent of the 21,000 submissions to the health committee on Maryan Street’s euthanasia petition were opposed to any law change.

His claim my Access to Palliative Care bill would make palliative care mandatory is ridiculous.

My bill seeks to allow access to all who want top quality end-of-life care wherever and whenever they need it. Mr Kuten could opt to refuse all hospice and palliative care in the same way they can now.

Kuten’s reference to “the conflict of interest of palliative care physicians who stand to gain financially from such legislation” is a false and scurrilous allegation, questioning the honesty and integrity of palliative care physicians.

Mr Kuten has much in common with the other close-minded zealots who believe they have the right to demand a choice through this assisted suicide bill that would remove the choice from so many thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders.

MAGGIE BARRY, MP for North Shore

June 1, 2018 / by / in
Lawn bowls: Kings of repartee riff on the greens

Meet the international chess grandmaster and the table tennis wizard playing lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow silver medallists Mark Noble and Barry Wynks are back to challenge for gold alongside Bruce Wakefield in the para triples on the Gold Coast.

In 2014 they had Lynda Bennett on their team, and in 2002 Wynks was part of the trio devastated when team-mate John Davies was sent home for inappropriately touching a Games volunteer.

That cost a chance of victory.

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“It was a huge disappointment at the time,” Wynks says. “I felt like I had played this game for three years and … you can stick it.

“But I had so much support when I came back I thought, ‘Bugger this, I want to get stuck in and do something about it.'”

Aged 13, Noble was hit on a pedestrian crossing by a car. His shattered hip and pelvis required numerous reconstruction operations.

Wynks was born with a shortened right arm and right leg. He says that made life “one hell of a lot easier than having an accident”.

The way the pair riff off each other reminds you of Jim Henson’s Waldorf and Statler, but these blokes are anything but muppets. Their sports and games skills have been enhanced by a mental will for parity.

“We joke around a bit, but neither of us takes to heart what the other one says, it’s friendly banter,” Noble says.

How does the 55-year-old derive satisfaction from the sport? “It’s quite good when we’re playing able-bodied guys and bashing them over.

“We certainly milk it a bit. We don’t mind telling them: ‘If you can’t beat disabled guys, you shouldn’t be playing them’… As long as you know them [the opposition] well,” he says with a grin.

Wynks chimes in: “It’s probably hard for some guys to go home and tell their wives and kids they’ve been stitched up by people like us with missing bits and pieces. Some even had to do that after playing me at table tennis.”

That sport was the 65-year-old’s first specialty in a career encompassing cricket, rugby, golf, badminton, diving and water polo.

Wynks featured prominently at several national table tennis championships and it’s easy to imagine him applying a Forrest Gump-like determination to the craft. As one colleague noted, when Wynks was made a life member of Table Tennis Manawatu: “What we do know is that he has a very good left leg and an extremely good left arm.”

Noble turned his attentions to chess post-accident because there was “nothing else I could do” from a hospital bed.

The Anatoly Karpov fan would send letters overseas in correspondence chess and get replies months later with opponents’ moves. It’s a touch quicker in the internet age.

He applies his chess knowledge to the greens of the Broadbeach club.

“You’ve got to try to think more than one bowl ahead.”

Noble came through the Wellington system — and still plays there on occasion — but both are members of Palmerston North’s Takaro club. They share accommodation at the athletes’ village; Noble’s alleged snoring earns him a room to himself.

The fact they are staying in the village underlines the inclusive aspirations of the Commonwealth movement. But is genuine progress being made?

“Probably more people are getting involved in disabled sports,” Wynks says. “There are more opportunities and better acceptance. You’re treated like an equal, but 25 years ago that was different.”

“Sophie Pascoe carrying our flag sums it up for me,” Noble adds.

“That means we’re looking at the wider picture …

“Twenty to 30 years ago I don’t think that would’ve been an option.”

April 7, 2018 / by / in
Commonwealth Games: Oldest athlete bowls up again

Close your eyes, lean down on one knee and release a bowl across a green for a distance up to 40m in search of a jack.

Welcome to the world of New Zealand’s oldest Commonwealth Games athlete Sue Curran.

She’s hunting a medal on the Gold Coast to avenge the fourth her and partner David Stallard secured in the para mixed pairs at Glasgow four years ago.

At 71, Curran is helped by her “director” Ann Muir to navigate the greens, similar to a caddy in golf.

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“Ann knows the game inside out. She’s got more experience than I will ever have,” said Curran, who started playing when she was 65.

“She stands behind me and gives information as my eyes on the green. That means telling me what the speed is, how far up the green the jack is, whether to play forehand or backhand and where the last bowl finished.”

Curran said it’s her responsibility to get the weight right.

“We put hours of practice into getting the feel of the greens. If our director tell us it’s 28m, we should know by the feel of the bowl what length that would be.

“We can only go by that, because neither of us can see the other end of the green. I can see shadows and movements, but I can’t see the bowls or the head.”

Curran had to retire from work because her vision was deteriorating and she was “hacking her way around the golf course” with limited success. A future with the Blind Jacks soon beckoned.

“My stepfather persuaded me to have a go, so I entered the New Zealand nationals. I was runner-up in the mixed pairs so got put into the blind development squad.

“I ended up going to Worthing [in England] for the world championships a year later, playing in a slightly better-sighted group, and came back with silver and bronze.”

Bruce Wakefield, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble contest the para triples.

Defending champion Jo Edwards, Ali Forsyth, Blake Signal, Paul Girdler, Shannon McIlroy, Mandy Boyd and Val Smith return for another Games.

Tayla Bruce, Katelyn Inch and Mike Nagy debut.

Inch lives two blocks from the hosting Broadbeach club.

“I came here to gain experience on the greens, and share my knowledge with the team.

“They’re a wee bit slower than at the same time last year, due to rain and conditions. The speed doesn’t bother me, I’m ready to adjust for whatever comes.”

New Zealand has won 38 bowls medals at the Commonwealth Games, including 12 golds.

The competition runs from April 5 to April 13.

April 1, 2018 / by / in
Woman treads in Graham Henry's footsteps at Kelston Boys High School

The first woman to lead one of New Zealand’s great rugby boys’ schools says she has no intention of competing with her last three predecessors.

Singapore-born Adeline Blair, 49, named on Wednesday as principal of Kelston Boys High School, becomes the first woman to lead any state boys’ school in Auckland.

The school’s last three heads Sir Graham Henry (1987-96), Stephen Watt (1996-2011) and Brian Evans (2011-17) were all prominent rugby players and coaches.

Blair manages the school’s lawn bowls team.

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“The past three principals have always been really stalwarts in the rugby world. I can’t and I won’t compete with that,” she said.

“That’s them. But what I bring to the school is something that will match what they produced. Now it’s my turn to show what I can do for the school.”

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, pictured (left) with Steve Hansen in 2015, led Kelston Boys' High School from 1987-96. The school has produced 10 All Blacks. File photoFormer All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, pictured (left) with Steve Hansen in 2015, led Kelston Boys’ High School from 1987-96. The school has produced 10 All Blacks. File photo

Born and educated in Singapore, Blair trained as a primary school teacher in Scotland and came to New Zealand with her British husband, who works in information technology, in 1993. The couple have two daughters now aged 24 and 22.

Blair’s entire New Zealand teaching career has been at Kelston Boys. She started teaching English for adults in the school’s community education division in 1996, and joined the fulltime staff still teaching English as a second language in 2002.

Since then she has taught maths, social studies, geography and tourism, became deputy principal in 2015 and acting principal after Evans left to head Wesley College in January.

Brian Evans (centre), principal from 2011-17, is a former coach of the Black Ferns and coached Kelston Boys' First XV before moving to Wesley College. File photoBrian Evans (centre), principal from 2011-17, is a former coach of the Black Ferns and coached Kelston Boys’ First XV before moving to Wesley College. File photo

Asked about her other interests, she said: “My school is my community. I devote a lot of my time to extracurricular stuff, helping with the homework centre, helping sports teams.”

The board chose her to keep the top job from a field of nine applicants and its announcement on Facebook has drawn an outpouring of emotion.

Former student Daniel Tuala posted: “Wow congratulations ms!!! Mrs Blair was the best tourism teacher i ever had. Always wanted the best out of us boys. And She had jokes too.”

Another former student Cam Webster said: “Congrats Ms Blair! Youre an awesome, considerate and fair person.”

Like other West Auckland schools, Kelston Boys has lost students to richer central Auckland schools since schools became self-managing in 1989. Its roll slid gently from a peak of 1250 in the 1980s to 1100 in 2010, and has since plunged to 662.

European students have abandoned the school, dropping from 371 in the year 2000 to 42 last month. Most students are now Pasifika (62 per cent) or Māori (19 per cent).

However Blair said this year’s Year 9 intake was higher than last year’s, and West Auckland’s growing primary school rolls pointed to Kelston Boys’ roll growing again from here.

The Education Review Office reported in 2015 that the school’s pass rates in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) surpassed the national average, with both Pasifika and Māori students “achieving well above national averages”.

Adeline Blair becomes one of only four women leading NZ boys' schools. Photo / Doug SherringAdeline Blair becomes one of only four women leading NZ boys’ schools. Photo / Doug Sherring

Blair becomes one of only four women leading NZ boys’ schools, joining Susan Hassall at Hamilton Boys’ High School, Karen Gilbert-Smith at Whangarei Boys’ High School and Deborah Marshall-Lobb at Northcote’s Hato Petera College, where the roll has recently dwindled to 11.

Hassall said it was “unheard-of” for a woman to lead a boys’ school when she became headmaster 19 years ago, but her students now “don’t see it as anything unusual”.

“You can create an argument for it because women are very openly caring and that is more acceptable from a female. I think you can ‘gentle’ a school, while at the same time maintaining the discipline that is required,” she said.

The sole male principal of a New Zealand girls’ school, Stephen Bryan, said he was seen as an “oddity” when he took the helm at Sacred Heart College in Napier 12 years ago. He now leads St Catherine’s College in Wellington and believes attitudes are changing.

“It’s about leading a school through role-modelling good citizenship and ensuring that the best outcomes are put in place for the school community you serve.”

March 22, 2018 / by / in
WATCH: Bowls New Zealand triples champion drops the F-bomb three times on live television

Bowls is not typically associated with expletive, emotionally charged language but New Zealand’s latest champion flipped the script while celebrating his win on live television.

In an explicit post-match interview, the 2018 Triples team captain David Eades was “a lot excited” after claiming the national title and it showed.

Talking to Sky Television after the match about what the win meant to him, Eades dropped three F-bombs in the space of about 10 seconds after the win.

“F***in’ heaps man. That’s for my son Ben and my wife Irene, I f***in’ love them to f***in’ bits and I’d die for them all,” he said.

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His response was met with laughter from the spectators with the interviewee awkwardly apologising to the viewers.

“Sorry about that – live television,” she said.

Eades was unable to stand still for the remainder of the interview, rocking to-and-fro, leaning in tightly to the microphone to answer the remaining questions.

He went on to thank his team mates, Bruce McClinktock and Bart Robinson, as well as praising the opposition after the toughly fought final.

“The three people that we played against, they are very very fine bowlers.

“They’re probably the best three bowlers in North Harbour and Triples, and mate to beat them you have to be very very good. They’re a great combination,” Eades said.

At the end of the interview Eades assured the interviewee and viewers that he would be celebrating well afterward.

February 17, 2018 / by / in