An outstanding collection of more than 140 pre-1995 All Black-related photographs will be on public display through the DHL NZ Lions Series.
The images, presented on almost life-sized banners, are from the pre-professional, pre-1995 era when most players wore black boots – hence the title. Most of the images have never been seen publicly before and are sourced from historic photographic collections, primarily from Wellington photographer Barry Durrant, with the help of former All Black captain Andy Leslie and outstanding captions by leading rugby writer Phil Gifford.
“The tens of thousands of visitors to New Zealand will be able to see this amazing collection of Black Boot era images and it will cost them nothing,” says Gerry Morris, director of the Black Boot Company which has initiated and curated the exhibition. An indoor exhibition will also be on display at the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North, and every image displayed is a one-off – to see the whole collection you will need to travel to every host city, and Palmy on the way!
“The galleries recognise the huge, positive role the code has played in the fabric of New Zealand culture and covers everything from Keith Murdoch in training, Bob Scott’s bare foot prowess, the All Black trials in the mud, All Blacks pheasant shooting on the Moors of England, to tests in six inches of water. It is essentially a tribute to New Zealand’s history through rugby.”
Check it out in the fan zones and fan trails in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Background on photographer, Barry Durrant, leading photo contributor to the Black Boot Legends Gallery:
“I began my career in photography as a cadet at Wellington’s The Dominion in 1957, and made a name for myself as a news and sports photographer, covering mountain rescues and major news events.
“The news jobs kept coming with 1968 being the biggest with the Inangahua Earthquake and Wahine sinking being among the biggest jobs I covered. I won the top news picture of that year with a picture of the hole-through at Manapouri entitled, “Hats Off”.
“I left the Dominion that year to become Wellington photographer for Wilson and Horton, publisher of The Weekly News, NZ Herald, Thursday Magazine and numerous other publications. In 1972, The Weekly news and other magazines closed. The Dom offered me my job back as well as a trip to “England to cover the 1972-73 All Blacks rugby tour. I was away for four months and was very glad to see the sun after a winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
“After the tour, I settled down to work at The Dom becoming Chief Photographer. Our work involved a lot of the political events and it was never dull during the Muldoon years. I think I photographed fifteen prime ministers during my career.
“In 1986, I felt I needed to be able to be in charge of my own life instead of chasing the news so left the world of newspapers and set up my own business doing magazine and public relations work.
“I was lucky to work in a great era for news when we were in competition with other journalists but were still good mates. I have had a great life behind the lens seeing great events and meeting famous people from around the world. I still look forward to taking pictures and the dramatic 1972/73 All Blacks tour, with the sending home of Keith Murdoch, remains a vivid memory.”