Ashburton Museum remembers 100 years of rugby

Monday 18 September, 2017

The Ashburton Museum’s newest exhibition space, the Kate and Hank Murney Room will finally be unveiled this week, and its first exhibition will be nothing short of impressive.

Balls, Bullets and Boots: From Rugby Field to Battlefield and Back is on track to be the room’s first interactive exhibition and will explore the legacy of World War One, as seen through the eyes of 15 New Zealand rugby players and one woman coach.

Museum Director Tanya Robinson says the touring exhibition will be an exciting addition to the Museum, particularly for local rugby enthusiasts.

“Fifty All Blacks went away to WW1 and 13 died. No fewer than 728 provincial representatives served, 163 died and by late 1915 - before conscription - it was estimated that 10,000 active rugby club players from throughout New Zealand had volunteered for service.

“This year marks the centenary of a number of WW1 battles, and while we may know the stories of those terrible conflicts, there is something very special about putting the faces and personal stories to those experiences. The exhibition explores the impact those hostilities have had on New Zealand’s signature sport and will engage visitors with players’ personal stories against a backdrop of a nation at war.

“Balls, Bullets and Boots will take you through a rugby club room, down into the trenches and more, while viewing a selection of historic objects, memorabilia and multimedia dramatisations,” Ms Robinson adds.

The Kate and Hank Murney Room was remodelled from a vacant area in the Art Gallery and Heritage Centre, into a state-of-the-art exhibition space, thanks to the generosity of the Hank Murney Family Trust.   

Its first touring exhibition comes courtesy of the Rugby Museum and is based on research undertaken by Clive Akers for an e-book of the same name.

The exhibition is suitable for all ages, with activities for children running throughout the exhibition.

Balls, Bullets and Boots: From Rugby Field to Battlefield and Back will be open at the Ashburton Museum from Saturday 23 September until Sunday 12 November.

Page reviewed: 18 Sep 2017 2:26pm