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Foreword





                                                               It happened in August 1907 – Australian Rugby
                                                               Union had a revolt. A disillusioned group, later known
                                                               as Rugby League, broke away from the Rugby Union,
                                                               promising to financially support injured players. My
                                                               grandfather, Dally Messenger, the then superstar of
                                                               the Rugby Union, joined the renegades.
                                                               At the time, a team of New Zealand All Blacks
                                                               was heading for Great Britain by ship. They were
                                                               organised to play a season in the “mother country”.
                                                               The ship stopped over in Sydney and so this New
                                                               Zealand team played a series of three rugby matches
                                                               against the newly formed Australian Rugby League.

                                                               The All Blacks were short of a player, so Dally
                                                               Messenger was invited to join them. The team then
                                                               travelled on to the 1907-08 tour of Great Britain. As
                                                               far as I know, my grandfather was the only Australian
                                                               ever invited to become an All Black. That is how my
                                                               connection with New Zealand auspiciously began.

                                                               Now, as you all know, the All Blacks begin every
                                                               match with a ceremony. It is called the haka. But
                                                               what hardly anyone knows is that, when Dally
                                                               Messenger led the first Kangaroos to Great Britain in
                                                               the following year, 1908-09, he created a haka for the
                                                               Australians. Now there’s a celebrant for you!

                                                               And that is how the New Zealanders first taught the
                                                               Australians about ceremony.

                                                               So when Frank Crean invited me over to
                                                               Christchurch, to be the keynote speaker at the
                                                               Canterbury Celebrant Conference in June of 1998, I
                                                               felt I was coming to one of my ancestral homes.
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