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Clips (6)

  1. Part one of five from this full length episode.

  2. Part two of five from this full length episode.

  3. Part three of five from this full length episode.

  4. Part four of five from this full length episode.

  5. Part five of five from this full length episode.


This four-part series explores New Zealand social history through rugby, from the first rugby club in 1870 to the 1995 World Cup. In this episode commentators muse on the roots of rugby in a settler society, in "a man's country". Rugby's unique connection with Māori, from Tom Ellison and the Natives’ tour to a Te Aute College haka, is explored; as well as the national identity-defining 1905 Originals’ tour, and the relationship between footy and the battlefield. As the Finlay Macdonald-penned narration reflects: “Maybe it's just a game, but it's the game of our lives”.

Credits (15)

 John Carlaw
 George Andrews
 Finlay Macdonald

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Comments (1)



Any chance of getting the full series up on here?


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Rugby became a superb training ground for making New Zealanders the territorials of the Empire, which is the really the way we defined ourselves, from about the turn of the century through to 1950 or thereabouts ... 
In rugby New Zealanders have seen themselves. Like some strange muddy mirror it has reflected what they wanted to see, and sometimes what they did not. Through peace and war, Depression and social revolution, rugby has been a badge of national identity worn often with pride, only occasionally with shame. 
We feel a warmth of recognition when we watch it far from home, something we were genuinely good at: no cause to cringe. In a land of few festivals it has been a cause to celebrate.