<a href=””>Knackered</a&gt;

Scrotum’s aren’t aesthetically pleasing.


They’re just not nice to look at; thin skinned hairy parcels which wrinkle and contract at the slightest sign of cold or fright. Membranous tissue which seems to stretch a mile before snapping; no, there is not a lot going for them.

Ugly; I readily concede, but they do hold important bits.

Bits men want to keep and protect, although unfortunately scrotum’s afford scant protection as I’ve often found out playing contact sport.

I’ve played in dozens of games of rugby where I wished I had a titanium protector instead of my flimsy sack. I’ve been kicked, punched, grabbed and kneed in the knackers more times than I wish to remember.


But it’s a numbers game; it’s like surfing, hopefully the shark will bite the guy next to you, not you. Now I’m retired from rugby, I reflect that  the only comfort I ever took in this, is the times I watched, guffawed and giggled at many dozens of my team  mates and opposition who grabbed their balls, sunk to their knees, closed their eyes and screamed. Some have cried, some have impersonated Edvard Munch, some have even writhed on the ground for extended periods wishing to be put down..

You would think that men; knowing the agony created by a low blow below the belt would take sympathy. But, no – we find the howling, the grimacing and rolling lolling about hilarious!

Image result for kick in the balls

Weird creatures!

However, there are exceptions to the rule.

I played in 2 games whether players have suffered serious scrotum injuries. On one occasion a testicle was ripped straight out of the scrotum and was left dangling against the upper thigh of my team mate. Thankfully a quick trip to the A&E, a gentle guiding hand, a few well placed sutures and the testicle was safely re-inserted and stitched back into place.

On the other occasion, the poor severed testicle had suffered significant damage and could not be saved. Although the player was in the opposition, there is no comfort there. The poor guy had his testicle removed.

You can rest assured that on both of these occasions there was no giggling, smirks or jokes. Gathered players simply standing in silence, hands on hips with heads down. All of us thinking, thank God it wasn’t me. 

Its no laughing matter when your knackers are knackered! Pain is fair game, testicles sacrosanct.

They say New Zealand men are tough, the All Blacks especially so. Many years an All Black Captain suffered a cruel blow between his legs. physically knackered, his knackers knackered, he still managed to find a way to play on. His name was Buck Shelford.

Bring back Buck!

buck shelford

Here is his story:

Buck (Wayne) was a victim of the infamous “Battle of Nantes”, which was one of the most aggressive games of rugby ever played and witnessed. During the game a French boot found its way into Shelford’s groin, somehow ripping his scrotum and leaving him with one testicle hanging free.

Shelford was caught at the bottom of a ruck 20 minutes into the game, losing four teeth, and sustained a large tear to his scrotum courtesy of a stray French boot.

Incredibly, Shelford had his injury stitched on the sideline and played on until deep into the second half, when a knock to the head left him concussed and unable to continue.

The Daily Telegraph.

The aggression of the French rugby team was unprecedented, and many of the All Blacks suspected foul play. It would later transpire that many of the French players were pepped up on amphetamines, a reasonable explanation for their violent physicality.

“When I came out of the tunnel and I saw them, I looked into the eyes of many of the players as I walked past them, and their eyes did not say that they were going into a game against the All Blacks,”

“Their eyes just looked like they were on something, and I could not prove it.”

Wayne Shelford.

The French team doctor at the time, Jacques Mombet, much later explained that the Nantes Test was the most obvious example of French players using amphetamines.

He said New Zealand realised their opponents were “loaded” and made a complaint to the International Rugby Board, which eventually led to a clampdown and ultimately drug testing.


Now, I have played in some testy games before, but I recall this Test Match vividly and I am so pleased I was not within 1,000 miles of the sideline, such was the aggression and violence.

I have genuine respect for French Rugby, my pecking order has always been All Blacks first, then France and then any other team playing England or Australia. But on November the 15th 1986, the spirit of French rugby suffered a blow as painful as any  blow to the groin, and it was no laughing  matter.

Kia Ora



The good, the bad and the ugly


This week disability, disabled toilets and morals have been significantly show cased in the NZ Media. I guess you could put this down to just another news week. But I don’t think so. You see, I’m getting irked, very irked by peoples expectations placed on those in the public eye. The Press/Media doesn’t help, reporting news for the lowest common denominator is rife. It seems to me the Press/Media have no idea, nor concern with what is really in the public interest; whipping up into a frenzy anytime there is an indiscretion or slip up by someone in the public eye.

Journalists, please go back to Journo school, go back to Journalism 101, and re-examine and explore the difference between:

  • Role Models
  • Celebrities
  • Idol’s
  • Heroes

At the moment all you Journo’s seem to lump and roll these terms into one. But they are not the same thing. In fact, they are quite different. All Blacks aren’t Role Models, they are not even heroes, they are simply celebrities.

So this week there has been plenty of news, some good, some bad and definitely some ugly.

On the good news page has been Liam Malone. And for the record, I believe Liam is a hero!

To support my point, here’s an abbreviated extract from Scott Le Barge on the nature of heroes from the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics – Santa Clara University .

The term “hero” comes from ancient Greek. For them, a hero was a mortal who had done something so far beyond the normal scope of human experience that he left an immortal memory behind him when he died.

Many of these Greek heroes were benefactors of humankind: Hercules, the monster killer; Asclepius, the first doctor; Dionysus, the creator of Greek fraternities.

But people who had committed unthinkable crimes were also called heroes; Oedipus and Medea, for example, received divine worship after their deaths as well. Originally, heroes were not necessarily good, but they were always extraordinary; to be a hero was to expand people’s sense of what was possible for a human being.

Today, because of the media, it is much harder to detach the concept of heroism from morality; we only call heroes those whom we admire and wish to emulate. We need heroes first and foremost because our heroes help define the limits of our aspirations. We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals – things like courage, honor, and justice – largely define us. Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy.

A couple years ago the administrators of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes polled American teenagers and found only half could name a personal hero. Superman and Spiderman were named twice as often as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Lincoln. It is clear that our media make it all too easy for us to confuse celebrity with excellence; of the students who gave an answer, more than half named an athlete, a movie star, or a musician. One in ten named winners on American Idol as heroes.

 So what must we do? How should we address the problem? Part of the answer is personal. It never hurts us to remind ourselves who our own heroes are and what they represent for us, and to ask ourselves whether we are doing all we can to live up to these ideals.

For those of us who are teachers – and all of us are teachers of our own children at least – have a special opportunity to introduce heroes to those we teach. And teaching about heroes really isn’t hard; heroic lives have their appeal built in, all we need to do is make an effort to tell the stories. I assure you, the reason those students didn’t choose Lincoln and King and Gandhi as heroes was not that they had heard their stories and dismissed them. It is our job to tell the stories. Tell your students what a difference people of courage and nobility and genius have made to the world.

 Heroes can help us lift our eyes a little higher. Immanuel Kant said that “from the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” That may well be true. But some have used that warped, knotted timber to build more boldly and beautifully than others, and we may all benefit by their examples. Heaven knows we need those examples now.

The Good -Liam Malone

Paralympian Liam Malone arrives back at Auckland Airport after the Rio games.

He’s just a goofy dude from Nelson who just runs in circles and reads books – well at least that’s what he say’s. Well yesterday that goofy dude was given the keys to Nelson City – but not before filling up his Dad’s truck with diesel instead of petrol.

This presentation was of course because of his exploits at the Rio Paralympics. After winning two golds and a silver medal, he is arguably be the  fastest man in the world with no legs.

Liam is a Nelsonian through and through, Kate, Maddie and I were delighted to be part of the thousands who went along to the civic celebration to show our admiration, our thanks and support to this outstanding young man. It was wonderful to listen to Liam and even better, Maddie our daughter got to briefly meet him. Humble, and grateful, Liam graciously thanked Nelson for the $20,000 it raised to enable him to purchase his first set of running blades, saying that if it were not for that, then he would never have made it to the Paralympics. He told us that the medals belonged to Nelson, as much as they belonged to him.

Don’t even dare play the disability card! This guys a champion, disabled or not. He would have been a winner legs or without legs. Resilience, tenacity, dedication, and desire combined with a great deal of self belief, makes Liam an outstanding young man. Sure, his disability may make things harder for him, but overcoming difficulties through strength and depth of character sit aside from disability. As someone who works in the disability sector, I wish many more people would see people as people, not as able bodied or disabled. But we like labels – which bring us to – the bad!

The Bad -Aaron Smith, or is it us?

All Black halfback Aaron Smith

Who hasn’t had sex in a public place; in a car, car park, garden, under a bush in someone’s garden, in the bathroom, the garage? The list could go on. I’m not afraid to say – that I have had sex in weird and quite wonderful places. Often the chance of getting caught adding excitement and thrill to the encounter.

Public outrage – astonishment – disgust!

Come on NZ, we do not live in Victorian times. People have sex, some people have sex outside of relationships and some people even have sex in public places.  Whether this is right or wrong, whether this fits within your own moral’s,personal view on sex and relationships is beside the point. Just like rugby, not everyone plays by the same rules.

Ministers of Faith have sex, GP’s have sex, postmen and women have sex, accountants, bankers, lawyers, factory workers, shop assistants all like to get their leg over and imbibe the juices of the carnal fruits.

Oh my God, you can’t be serious! Do rugby players have sex, does that mean even All Blacks have sex?

If anyone thought otherwise they need a bullet. And if anyone thinks that this is news, and Smiths activities are of interest to anyone else other than him, his girlfriend, his tryst partner, then they need two bullets.

Sure he was on Company time. Sure, it is an employment issue and needs to be dealt with as such. But please do not tell me Smith and every other All Black or famous person is public property for issues of morality. Quote me brand damage, quote me marketing and sponsorship, but do not quote me morals because I know what you do when the curtains are drawn and the lights are turned down!

This brings me to who is whipping (excuse the deliberate pun) up all this repressive moralistic role model horse poo.

 The Ugly – The NZ Press/Media

Fairfax-NZME merger

Global statements! I hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them. Judy Bailey – mother of the nation – my arse!

She is not like my mother in anyway, nor is she like any of the 300 or so other mothers that pick up their children from Tahunanui School – not that I’ve seen anyway.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.25.41 am

All Black’s as role models, my hairy arse!

Surely, if I wanted a role model I would choose my own? Not select who the media tells me too.  Yes, kids love the All Blacks, and yes I loved the All Blacks as a Kid, but it is not for their personality, not for their charm, not for their morals, not for their social standing. No, it is for their rugby prowess, their ability to kick goals, to score try’s, tackle and knock people over. If people don’t get that – then I feel sorry for them.

Yes, in my opinion it’s high time for a national discussion on

Role Models

  • Celebrities
  • Idol’s
  • Heroes

And the expectations we place on them.

The should be led and conducted in the media/press. But it won’t be, because Conrad Hurrell getting a blow job is far more exciting and sells more advertising.

Do rugby league players even get blowjobs?


Kia Ora


Girls just wanna have fun

Tonight the All Blacks play the old foe South Africa.

And this week I have had a very small taste of what it might be like to be the All Black’s coach Steve Hansen.

This week I have had to deal with last minute injury, nerves, tears and the fear of the unknown.

This week my wife Kate and I have had to prepare, not for one but for two Tests. A tough ask in any circumstance.

The New Zealand Association of Modern Dance (NZAMD) and the Royal Academy of Dance  (RAD) don’t muck around when it comes to examinations, and preparing our daughter Maddie for these was an exercise in extreme Man Management (or young girl management – which to me seems far harder!)


I jest of course, because all of the hard work had already been done by Maddie herself and her amazing tutor Lucy Moignard, Principal of A Star Academy of the Arts .

Here’s how our week panned out.

Sunday – Last minute run through’s. Ballet gear and bag sorted. Early to bed as the NZAMD exam was being held in the morning. I observed, nothing much for me to do here.

Monday – Up early, usual dis-agreement s between Kate and Maddie about Make-up, hair, costumes  etc. I observed, nothing much for me to do here, apart from go to work, sit at my desk and wait for news.


News came through – Maddie had done well – I was pleased. I smiled, all my hard work had been worth it. Job done.

Tuesday – Maddie had an inter-school sports tournament where she played  Hockey and Ki o’ rahi. Unfortunately she sustained a foot injury which threw the rest of the week into uncertainty and chaos. After 35 years playing rugby I knew exactly what to do. RICE! Rest, Ice (frozen chips – Kate’s idea) Compression and Elevation. Pain, tears, and an early night.

Wednesday – Maddie hobbling about. Maddie watches from the sidelines at the Ballet practice for Fridays RAD exam.

Thursday – Maddie still hobbling about. Maddie excused from Ballet practice.

Friday – Up early, usual dis-agreement s between Kate and Maddie about Make-up, hair, costume  etc. I observed, nothing much for me to do here apart from go to work, sit at my desk and wait for news.


News came through. Maddie mucked up her first dance. Tears, devastation and despair.

Lucy Moignard being a seasoned professional told Maddie to pick herself up and dust herself off and to go back in and nail the next three dances. Maddie did – big smiles, laughter and an amazing feeling of satisfaction. Maddie told me she felt the same way too!

Just kidding.

Apart from the hours upon hours of practice at A Star and home. Apart from the hours upon hours of listening to the same music. Apart from all the hard work, the tears and the injuries, there is one thing that really stands out to me.

I asked Maddie after her exams how she felt about it all? She told me she loved it, she loved to dance, loved hanging with her mates, loved the costumes and learning.

I asked her again, what was the one thing that she liked about it most?

It’s fun she answered, it’s really good fun.

Job done Lucy

Job done Kate

I smiled, nothing much for me to do here. Steve H and I have more in common than you might think.



Kia Ora











The National Conversation

The economy, the All Blacks and the weather are the holy trinity of conversation in NZ. The boxed trifecta of convivial communication. A tip for any visitor to Aotearoa is to be conversant with at least one of the above topics. And if you are,  Kiwi’s will welcome you with open arms and genuine hospitality. But of course talking intelligibly about our economy and our rugby prowess is pretty difficult when you come from the other side of the world.

So your back up position, your fall back must be the weather!

We get a lot of weather in NZ – so it should be an easy conversation to start.

It’s as simple and easy as asking, ‘so whats the weather forecast?’

Hearts and doors will open – smiles will appear; weathered brows and lined faces will suddenly seem inviting and kind, you will be immediately transformed from a bloody loopey (endearing term preserved for tourists) to a great guy/girl –  a bloody good sort.


New Zealand is series of tiny little Islands tucked away in the South Pacific. Thin and long with a significant mountain range running along its spine New Zealand is a weather forecasters nightmare.

Located in the ocean somewhere between the Tropics and the Antarctic with a huge dry Continental mass to its west, it seems the only time we are not at the mercy of huge air masses is when that bloody frigid Easterly wind blows our singlets and spencers off, blue sky sunny days but a wind that leaves you nude and raw.

Being an agricultural based economy weather plays a quintessential role in our daily lives and landscape; it has weaved itself into our national psyche and the fabric of our culture. It has spun itself into  our architecture, our fashion, our written and spoken words, our music and our art. Weather is the tapestry showcased in the frame of our being.

I believe the kiwi connection and affinity to weather is second to none in all the countries I have ever traveled to. If we are not complaining about the rain, the cold, the wind, we are having a moan about the heat, the drought or grey skies. Two of my favourite poets summed up our relationship with the weather so well

High Country Weather – James K. Baxter

Alone we are born
and die alone;
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
over snow-mountain shine.Upon the upland road
Ride easy, stranger:
Surrender to the sky
Your heart of anger.

Talking of the weather – Sam Hunt


The New Zealand Meteorological Service  is an institution, an institution people love to hate! Even they say –

Mother Nature is a tempestuous animal, and even with the best forecasting team, the most powerful computer models and the latest weather observations, weather forecasts can never be perfect.

Looking back over the last year, the accuracy of the short-term forecasts for temperature is around 81% and for rainfall 85%.

‘Useless,’ we Kiwi’s say! They never get it right!

Tomorrow will be the same – Colin McCahon

Image result for colin mccahon tomorrow will be the same

Rain Radar Tasman Sea – NZ Met Service (I’ve always thought of Weather Maps as worthy works of art)

Image result for nz art about the weather

Unquestionably NZ is beautiful, and so are most of our residents. But the real beauty of NZ is that if you don’t like the weather, hold on, because it will probably change in a few hours!


Now, if you are thinking that Kiwi’s fascination and our adoration, our total immersion in the weather is a NZ European tick, then think again. A quick study of Maori legend and Waiata (song) reveals that weather is so embedded in pre-european times as Kumara and Hangi – and post-european as pork and puha! Check this out!

Purea nei e te hau
Horoia e te ua

Whitiwhitia e te ra
Mahea ake nga poraruraru
Makere ana nga here.
Scattered by the wind
washed by the rain
and transformed by the sun,
all doubts are swept away
and all restrains are cast down.
E rere wairua, e rere
Ki nga ao o te rangi
Whitiwhitia e te ra
Mahea ake nga poraruraru
Makere ana nga here,
Makere ana nga here.
Fly O free spirit, fly
to the clouds in the heavens,
transformed by the sun,
with all doubts swept away
and all restrains cast down.
Yes, all restrains are cast down.

And, if you are interested in other Kiwi weather related songs – please check these out great tracks:

  • Hail – Straightjacket Fits
  • The summer you never meant – The Exponents
  • Rain – The Chills
  • Pink Frost – The Chills
  • Swimming in the rain – The Chills
  • Cool me down – The Blackseeds
  • It was raining – The Verlaines
  • Weather with you – Crowded House
  • Rain – Fat Freedy’s Drop
  • I like rain – Jean-Paul Satre Experience
  • Stormy Weather – Upper Hutt Posse
  • Shiverman – Fat Freddy’s Drop (one of my all time favourites!)
  • Listening for the weather – Bic Runga
  • Long White Cloud – Shapeshifter
  • Summer Haze – Shapeshifter (Instrumental)
  • All about the weather – Clap Clap Riot

Kia Ora