In July 1924 Judge Frank Acheson of the Native Land Court was chosen by the All Blacks’ Management Committee to travel with the team on their upcoming tour of Britain, France and Canada.
A keen rugby enthusiast, Acheson kept a detailed, well-written diary of the tour, which is now held in Special Collections. His diary covers many events on and off the field, including an account of the game against England in January 1925 during which loose forward Cyril Brownlie was sent off for his part in a fight, gaining Brownlie the dubious honour of being the first rugby player sent off during a test match.
“The weather cleared up for the big match on Saturday 3rd and a tremendous crowd (about 60,000 – a record) attended at Twickenham. The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister (Mr Baldwin) attended – also a very large contingent of New Zealanders and Australians.
The referee unfortunately spoilt the game by very unjustly ordering off a NZ player (C. Brownlie who had taken Les Cupples place) in the first five minutes. Although he should have ordered off two English players instead! However NZ with only 14 men beat England (with 15 men) by 17 to 11. NZ with its full team would have won by about 30 points.”
The collection also includes handwritten drafts for the haka Acheson and Wiremu Rangi, of Gisborne, composed for the side on the voyage to England, two beautiful black hat bands embroidered with the silver fern, a photograph and other ephemera.
Katherine Pawley, Special Collections
Acheson, Frank O. V. (1887-1948). Papers, 1906-1948. MSS & Archives 96/1, item 1/5. Special Collections, University of Auckland Library.