Rugby is New Zealand's national sport.
From the grand tour by the 1888 Natives to the upcoming 2015 World Cup, from games in the North African desert in World War II to matches behind barbed wire during the 1981 Springbok tour, from grassroots club rugby to heaving crowds outside Eden Park, Lancaster Park, Athletic Park or Carisbrook, New Zealanders have made rugby their game. In this book, historian and former journalist Ron Palenski tells the full story of rugby in New Zealand for the first time. It is a story of how the game travelled from England and settled in the colony, how Maori and later Pacific players made rugby their own, how battles over amateurism and apartheid threatened the sport, how national teams, provinces and local clubs shaped it. But above all it is a story of wing forwards and fullbacks, of Don Clarke and Jonah Lomu, of the Log of Wood and Charlie Saxton's ABC, of supporters in the grandstand and crackling radios at 2 a.m. The story of rugby is New Zealand's story. Rooted in extensive research in public and private archives and newspapers, and highly illustrated with many rare photographs and ephemera, this book is the defining history of rugby in a land that has made the game its own.
Author Biography: Ron Palenski is an author and historian and among the most recognised authorities on the history of sport, and especially rugby, in New Zealand. He has written numerous books, among them an academic study, The Making of New Zealanders, that placed rugby firmly as a marker in national identity.