Topic: Rugby

Māori rugby legend memorabilia up for auction in UK

By Harata Brown

Memorabilia of Māori Rugby legend George Nepia are up for auction in Europe.  The auction price is likely to see the precious items alienated from whānau but they aren't giving up hope.

George Nepia Jnr (Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu) carries the legacy of his grandfather.

He says, "Pop holds a dear place in our family's hearts, he created a real platform for Māori in general in terms not just in sport but as someone who was seen in his day as a role model.”

Two jerseys once worn by the exceptional All Black are up for auction in Wales.  It's estimated that the price for both could fetch close to $100,000.  

Nepia says, "Given the short time frame, we are kind of up against it, in terms of trying to find financial support even from Government organisations, but hey I am open to approaches.”

In 1924, George Nepia featured in the All Blacks' “Invincibles” tour of Great Britain.  The jerseys are being sold by the surviving families of two rival players who Nepia gave them to.

New Zealand Rugby Union are not in a position to say whether they intend to be part of the auction or not.  At the current going price, NZ Rugby Museum are out-priced but they say they are interested in the items and will observe the auction prices.

"I think it would be great scenario for us to have the jerseys displayed in places either Te Papa or the New Zealand Rugby Museum," said Nepia.

But for now, the auction is set to take place on Friday in the United Kingdom.