October 7 1926

New Zealand Maori in France – 1926

In July 1926 New Zealand Maori embarked on what turned out to be a huge 31 match tour, primarily in France and Britain. En route to France they played two matches in Melbourne and one in Ceylon. Their eighth game in France was against Equipe de Centre at Clermont-Ferrand.


"Wampy" Bell, involved in the first Maori try.

“A Good Win The game against the L’Equipe de Centre was at Clermont-Ferrand.

Maori team: Phillips, Falwasser, Potaka, Lockwood, Mete, Wi Neera, Shortland, Bell, Olsen, Stewart, Rika, Haupapa, Tatana, S. Gemmell and Manihera.

The Maoris opened very strongly, and the backs took part in several good passing rushes, but the French defence was equal to the occasion. The Maori forwards were having more success in the scrums, and Shortland lost no opportunity in setting his backs going. From a scrum near the line Bell made an opening, and passed to Falwasser. The wing made a good run, and, swerving past the fullback, scored in the corner. Potaka failed. Maoris 3, Centre 0. Play remained in the Centre half almost continuously, though poor tackling by the Maoris let their opponents through several times. Shortly before half-time Falwasser made a brilliant swerving run for half the length of the field, but was thrown into touch.

Immediately on resumption Manihera got across from a dribbling rush, and Potaka converted. Maoris 8-0. Soon after a pot by Phillips fell short, Centre forcing. Then Lockwood fielded the ball and made a fine run, scoring under the posts. Potaka’s kick made the score Maoris 13, Centre 0. The Maoris continued to attack, but a sudden break away by Hue, left that player a clear field. Phillips overtook him, and brought him down near the line. The referee decided that Punsola, who had accompanied Hue, was obstructed, and awarded a penalty try, which was not converted. Maoris 13, Centre 3. The Maoris were not to be denied, however, and returned to the Centre half, where Lockwood made a brilliant cross-field run, and passing to Falwasser, enabled the wing to dive over in the corner. Potaka failed, and the game ended with the Maoris winners by 16 points to 3.

While at Clermont-Ferrand, a number of the Maoris took part in aswimming gala held in their honour. Dick Pelham, who is, of course, well known in New Zealand swimming circles (being ex-440 yards champion), entered for the 100 metres open race, and had an easy win in I m 10 s. The Maoris also entered a relay team, consisting of Pelham, Haupapa, Love and Phillips. In this event the Maoris had to be content with second place.”

From “Maori Rugby 1884-1979” by Arthur H Carman. Pub. 1980 by Sporting Publications. P. 196-197.