Open letter about NZ rugby – sent to the NZRU

I sent this letter to the NZ Rugby Union Board 24th April 2019. The topic line said to the Rugby Union “Please forward to the Board Chair (Brent) and Crusaders (Grant) and all board members”

To Brent Impey, Grant Jarrold and your boards,

This is an open letter to you and other rugby fans.

I am 73-year-old All Blacks, Canterbury and Crusaders fan. I’ve been a one-eyed Cantabrian since I began, as a child, listening to the games on the radio and/or standing on the embankment at Lancaster Park with my Dad. I also expected my younger son to play for Canterbury – he played for Shirley, and once, in a junior team, played for Canterbury. Sadly, his coach-father died when he was 12 and then, at 15, a motorbike accident saw his leg being ripped off at the groin – killing his dreams and expectations of a rugby future.

The reason I’m writing is that I want to have my say as I’ve not signed any petition or been included in any poll. I also believe a letter is of more value than a signature.

I want the name ‘Crusaders’ to change. I’m glad the extras have been stopped and I hope the horse and knights will never return – in any form. I was disturbed, no – actually I was horrified – when the team was named in the mid-90s but put it down to ignorance of history and assumed most people/fans would be ignorant too.

That passive acceptance on my part changed in an instant when the white supremacist terrorist killed Muslims in my home city. (I live in Wellington now but you can take the girl out of the city but not the city out of the girl).

You don’t need a history lesson from me, others more qualified will have advised you. I also don’t believe a nation-wide poll should drive your decision either. Just do the right thing for all of us – a decision you will be able to capitalise on, as proof of a team of honourable, inclusive, diverse, people.

Please do not consult the local mosques unless the first question is – do you want to have a say about a name change? You would just be setting them up for more vitriol when you change the name – people not wanting a name change will blame them entirely.

Without a name change, this topic will come up every year. Will fans like me be able to wear our jerseys with pride? Not really. We will still love our team no matter its name or rankings but keeping the name and branding will cause issues for us fans too. If we can’t wear our red and black with pride, I suspect many will lose interest.

Please consider these points when you vote about the name change . . .  long before the new season starts, so we, and you, can buy the new red and black kit!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Heather Hapeta

Here’s their bounced back reply: 24th April – I’ve received nothing more.

Kia ora,

Thanks for contacting New Zealand Rugby.

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to email us, we’ll do our best to respond to you as soon as possible, however we are currently experiencing a high volume of emails and may require an extra few days.

If your email is about All Blacks schedule, public appearances, tickets or for signed memorabilia for charity, please go to

For all other questions and queries, we’ll come back to you as soon  as possible.

Nga Mihi

  NZ Rugby Info


Hot air ballooning makes me fall in love

hot air balloon over villageI’m reposting this as this is a great way to see the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps. It was originally printed in the Christchurch Press – I hope you enjoy it.

Kiwi Travel Writer talks food, travel, and tips

“When the wind blows in your face, something different is about to happen,” we’re told.It’s true and when the wind blows on our faces we change direction during the best morning I’ve had for ages. Infact it is so good I’m in love – in love with hot air ballooning. It is such fun even clichés fail me.

At 4 30am I was woken with a phone call. “It’s on, the weather is perfect, and your transport will be at your door in 20 minutes.It takes an hour to reach Methven, (1025 ft above sea level) home of Aoraki Balloon Safaris and close to Mt Hutt ski fields – and also on the Lord of the Rings route, a nearly a New Zealand-long-trail.Meeting with others who have driven from Christchurch or stayed overnight, we’re given overshoes, have our names and weights recorded and divided into two…

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Been to Ashburton? Have a quick look here.

In late June I was in Ashburton for a couple of nights – by putting my business card in a draw at a travel expo, I won 2 nights at the Bella Vista motel and a flight on Lady Jane – the historic DC3. While I went flying with their patron Richie McCaw almost immediately, travel and a shift to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, meant I didn’t have a free weekend to get to Ashburton.

Nevertheless, the wait was worth it and my hosts, the hospitable Evan and Heather Glass, made my trip  and stay enjoyable. (And, thanks for sending my PJs back to me!)

Travelling in my usual NZ Rent A Car I drove from Christchurch to Ashburton and back to Christchurch via highway 77 during a crisp winter weekend.

As well as talking with the editor of Latitude Magazine  about future contributions, (topics embargoed!) two things I saw in the area sort of link together in age!

Both are about ten years old but while one is housed in a hundred year old cottage, the other is newish and is surrounded by new homes with more being planned!

See some of my photos from the area:

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Annie’s Country Quilt Store is on State Highway One at 167 Archibald Street just south of the Ashburton River Bridge.  For those who love stitch-craft this little cottage is the place for you: it’s full of quilting, patterns and kits, patchwork fabrics and gifts. So even if you don’t have needle skills (like me) you can buy something for friends and family who are talented in this practice.

Turning off Archibald St into Graham Street and heading east, a few kilometres drive will take you to Lake Hood, an artificial lake that was formed 10 years ago as a water sports destination and housing estate (Huntingdon Park).  So if you are into rowing, wind surfing, sailing or jet skiing this is for you: I think you need all your own gear so check their webpage for more info. 

Of course if you want some exercise a 7 km cycle and walkway (Braided River)leads to the lake from Ashburton (on the south side of the Ashburton river) while the north bank has a the Hakatere Trail – a 19 km-cycle-way to the Pacific Ocean.

Ashburton also has a mountain bike trail too. See the local visitor I-site for more.

Kiwitravelwriter goes hiking in the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains

NOTE 2011 update:  the FIRST Hutton’s Shearwater Farewell is on the 3rd April at 7.00 am on the  Kaikoura peninsula

A small collection of photos of my time in the NZ Southern Alps (November 2009) hiking with the unique Kaikoura Wilderness Walks,  and the fabulous Shearwater Lodge.

This is just a little taster — watch for stories, blogs and articles of my time in these mountains. See more here too



we spend time watching and listening to kea





























































































sunrise from the lodge

YAY - down one more valley then up to Shearwater Lodge

native clematis

Looking up to the endangered shearwater colony high in the mountains

dan – our man – is back!

Carter to start for Canterbury against Harbour

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Canterbury first-five Dan Carter has been named to start in his team’s first match of the Air New Zealand Cup competition against North Harbour on Saturday.

Carter has not played a top-level game since injuring his Achilles while playing for Perpignan in France six months ago.

It will be Carter’s first game for Canterbury since October 6, 2006, when he played against Wellington in an NPC quarter-final.

He played 80 minutes for Southbridge against Hornby in the Ellesmere sub-union competition on Saturday, scoring a try and kicking two conversions in his team’s 34-13 victory.

Also returning from long-term injuries are wing James Paterson and hooker Ti’i Paulo. Both injured knees in last season’s Air New Zealand Cup and have not played a first-class game since.

Paterson hurt his knee in Canterbury’s semi-final victory over Hawkes Bay at AMI Stadium on October 18 and Paulo injured his a week earlier in the quarter-final win over Tasman.

Canterbury’s new All Blacks, prop Wyatt Crockett and flanker George Whitelock, the captain of the Red and Blacks this season, will start against Harbour.

Colin Slade, who played at first-five for the Junior All Blacks in Fiji recently, will start at fullback.

Five players new to the Canterbury squad will be on the bench

hooker Will Catherwood, prop Andrew Olorenshaw, lock Luke Romano, flanker Mat

our dan is back from france

Dan Carter and the Canterbury Rugby Union have agreed terms and conditions for a new contract through until the end of 2011.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to re-sign Dan until after the next Rugby World Cup” said CRFU CEO Hamish Riach. “While there has been intense media speculation about Dan’s future Provincial Union, our discussions have been positive and constructive throughout and have lead to this agreement today.

“Dan is obviously a world class player and it will be fantastic to have him back. It is quite simply tremendously good news for all who care about Canterbury and Crusaders rugby”.

Commenting on his decision, Dan Carter said: “Christchurch has always been home for me so it is great to have re-signed with Canterbury rugby through to 2011. I am looking forward to playing in a red and black jersey again and being part of the province that has given my rugby so much”.

meet ‘my team’ the crusaders: our top rugby players

Well what a game on Saturday (16th May 2009). It was real edge-of-the-seat stuff for me: I even had to change my stance (to support my team’s actions) that drop goals should only be worth one point!Who is ‘my team’ well the Crusaders of course.





I admit to being a one-eyed, red and black wearing, Cantabrian and this has been a great year. It year started with memories of the farewell to coach Robbie Deans, (unfortunately the Aussies got him as the NZRU had decided they would give the current All Blacks coach another chance – and to be fair he seems to be doing well)  and their 7th Super Rugby title in their well filled trophy cabinet.

So with a new coach, about ten new players, and Dan Carter offshore, it seemed many people were writing off our teams’ chance of winning anything. The first few games seem to confirm their views. We Cantabrians remained loyal!

And then on Saturday night, our team, having crawled up the ladder to be in with a chance to be in the semi finals, won their game – our fate was now in the hands of who would win the game in South Africa. The ball bounced our way and now the team (4th in points) are in South Africa preparing to face the #1 placed team for a game that I won’t see L as it’s in the middle of the night and I don’t have cable TV.

So, to find out more about ‘my team’ see and send them good thoughts and best wishes either in your mind or on this blog.

Well done ex-Crusader player-now-coach Todd Blackadder, Richie McCaw, and all the team – whether on the bench or on the field.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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