Story: East Coast region

Sportsmen: George Nēpia and Tom Heeney (1st of 3)

Sportsmen: George Nēpia and Tom Heeney

Two sporting greats – rugby player George Nēpia (left) and boxer Tom Heeney – are pictured here at Port Awanui in October 1928. Nēpia, who was born and raised in Wairoa, acquired fame in the unbeaten All Black side – the Invincibles – which toured the UK in 1924. He married and settled at Rangitukia on the East Coast in 1926. Heeney, who was born and raised in Gisborne, won the New Zealand heavyweight boxing title in 1920, and fought (but did not beat) Gene Tunney for the world championship at Yankee Stadium, New York City, on 28 July 1928.

Using this item

Tairawhiti Museum, Te Whare Taonga O Te Tairawhiti
Reference: 900-Nepia-03 120b-200210-41

Permission of Tairawhiti Museum, PO Box 716, Gisborne, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Monty Soutar, 'East Coast region - Sport and recreation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 June 2024)

Story by Monty Soutar, updated 1 Mar 2015