Ex-All Black captain John Graham dies

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

Sir John Graham, the former All Blacks captain, rugby administrator and educator, has died after a short illness, aged 82.

Loose forward Graham played 22 Tests in his 53 games for the All Blacks from 1958-64 and captained the side 10 times, including in his final three Tests, all against Australia.

In addition to his leadership in rugby he was also a highly respected educationalist, receiving a CBE in 1994 for services to education and the community.

"DJ was a great all round New Zealander. From his exploits on the rugby field to those in the classroom he was simply exceptional, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Sheila and the rest of his family" said NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew.

"His commitment to all aspects of the game and New Zealand society is legendary".

He also had a spell as manager of the New Zealand cricket team - during which time he oversaw the team's first Test wins over England at Lord's and The Oval - and later became president of New Zealand Rugby. Equal to his sporting achievements was his academic contribution driven by a lifelong commitment to the transformative power of education.

A defining moment in his life came when he toured South Africa in 1960 and was appalled by what he saw, speaking openly about his feelings.

He held firm to that stance and did not attend any of the matches on the controversial 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand, when anti-apartheid protestors fought pitched battles with police and rugby fans in the streets. As a Founding Trustee of Maxim, his deep love for New Zealand, his passion for education, and concern for those on the margins of life is at the heart of our work, and he was gracious enough to allow us to use his name for our annual Sir John Graham Lecture series. His ongoing dedication to those players speaks volumes of the kind of man he was. "He was a leader in every endeavour he turned to, and his long list of honours and achievements are testaments to his exceptional character".

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