Story: Māori rugby – whutupaoro

Reaction after the Charles Blackett cable

During the 1921 tour of New Zealand by South Africa a cable caused controversy following a game between the Springboks and New Zealand Māori. The cable, from South African journalist Charles Blackett (1), suggested that the South Africans hadn't wanted to play Māori and were disgusted by Pākehā New Zealanders supporting the Māori team. Initially, before anyone was aware of the cable, Ned Parata had apologised to the South African team for some problems from the crowd (2). When Kiwi Amohau and Tai Mitchell of Te Arawa became aware of the comments they telegraphed Springbok team manager H. C. Bennett to complain about the attitude of the Springboks, who had been welcomed by Te Arawa in Rotorua (3). Bennett replied that they shouldn't take note of rumours and the cable did not represent the team's view (4). Parata was satisfied with Bennett's comments, while Amohau and Mitchell were more reserved, noting that they would thank him for his refutation once it was made public.

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How to cite this page:

Malcolm Mulholland, 'Māori rugby – whutupaoro - Rugby union, 1910s to 1930s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 16 May 2022)

Story by Malcolm Mulholland, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Jan 2015