Surprise for Boys.
“ALL BLACKS” MANAGER VISITS
ABERDARE COUNTY SCHOOL.
GIVES TALK ON NEW ZEALAND.
On Monday Mr. R. V. Meredith [sic], manager of the New Zealand Rugby Tourists, paid a surprise visit to the Aberdare Boys’ County School. He was given a rousing reception by the boys when he walked on to the stage in the main hall in company with Mr. W. Charlton Cox, M.A. (head master), Mr. Aubrey Roberts, M.A., Mr. W. R. Williams, B.Sc., and Mr. Gwilym Jones, solicitor (president of the Aberdare and Merthyr Law Society). Mr. Meredith then proceeded to give a talk on New Zealand.
It had been intended to invite members of the All Blacks’ team to the school last Thursday, but circumstances dictated otherwise, and the visit was cancelled.
Mr. Aubrey Roberts, who was organising secretary of last Thursday’s game at the Ynys1, was determined, however, not to disappoint the school.
He asked the “All Blacks” if they would came [sic] during the ensuing week, and as a result Mr. R. V. Meredith travelled from Porthcawl to Aberdare on Monday to fulfil the engagement.
Mr. W. Charlton Cox, M.A., presiding, said that through the good offices of Mr. Aubrey Roberts, they had the New Zealanders’ manager there that day. (Cheers.) He hoped the boys would realise the extent of their privilege that morning. It was not a small job to manage a team touring in a strange country, so Mr. Meredith was a busy man. It was a great privilege to have him to devote a valuable morning of his time to talk to the boys of the school.
When Mr. Meredith, at Mr. Cox’s invitation, rose to speak, the main hall of the school rang with deafening cheers from 300 pupils.
Mr. Meredith said he did not know exactly what to say, but he would like to tell them something interesting. He mentioned the fact that New Zealand was almost exactly the other side of the world to us. The island was as long as the strip of land between the North of Scotland and the South of England. It was warm in the North of New Zealand, but cold in the South—almost as cold as we had it here at present, and that, said Mr Meredith was very cold. Referring to the Maoris, the speaker said they were a wonderful race with both culture and tradition.
New Zealand got its finest orators from the Maori race, which had a tradition for oratory, and treated it as a fine art. Oratory with them was a gift which they took great care to preserve.
They were a race which liked a fight now and again but they were so honourable that they never entered into conflict with another people without giving full notice of their intentions. Ambushes and secrecy were not in favour with the Maoris, because it “spoilt the game.” (Laughter.)
To-day the Maori lived like the European, and some of the greatest men in politics and science in New Zealand came from the Maori race. Two were Cabinet ministers in New Zealand today, and one man, Dr. Buck, now stationed at Honolulu, was recognised as one of the world’s greatest authorities on Anthropology.
Timber was to be found in abundance in New Zealand, and forestry and tree chopping were arts there. Collins, one of the “All Blacks,” was a champion axe-man. He could get through quite a huge tree in a minute and a half. One of Mr. Meredith’s greatest joys (he said) was to see a tree chopping competition, which always revealed gnat skill.
Other subjects touched upon were the hot lakes of New Zealand, Sir George Grey; and the Island of Cows (made a place of beauty by Grey, and which is now one of the “show places” of New Zealand), and the “Dome of Glows,” which could only be reached after travelling 200 feet along a dark underground river, where one came to a chamber which shone with a magnificent glow that enabled photographs to be taken there.
Trout fishing was a great sport, and sometimes trout weighing 20lbs were caught. Seeing the first statement treated as “a fishing story” by the boys, the speaker hastened to add that the average weight was between five or seven lbs.
The system of education was much the same as in this country, although university students generally worked in the day and studied by night.
WORDS ON RUGBY.
Rugby was played in all the schools and colleges, and the record gate for a rugger match in New Zealand was in a game between two grammar schools. Mr. Meredith said he owned large office, and that when he required a new boy he went to the head master, and asked for a boy in the top form, who was a member of the school rugby XV. If he was in the top form he was brainy, and if he was in the first XV, his physique was good. Rugby was one of the finest games to build men. (Hear, hear.). It taught them to take knocks, give knocks and then shut up about it. (Laughter). Those who played rugby were usually quick thinking. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Meredith concluded by wishing the Aberdare County School XV. a successful season. As he took his seat he was given a grand ovation, which took about three minutes to subside.
Noel John, captain of the School XV., thanked Mr. Meredith for his kindness in coming from Porthcawl2 to address them, and thanked his team for playing such excellent rugby at the Ynys on Thursday. The school XV. had evidently been inspired as they defeated Cathays High School 36‒0 at Cardiff on Saturday! (Applause.)
B. J. Walters, another member of the rugger XV., seconded the motion.
Vincent Robert Sissons Meredith lived at Onehunga as a boy, and matriculated at the Auckland Grammar School. In 1895 he moved to Wellington, where he joined up with the Wellington Football Club of which he became captain within a short time. The members of that team ascribed the superlative success of their play to the leadership of V.R. Meredith. In his working life Meredith initially worked for the the Customs Department but left it to practise law, initially joining the Crown Law Office as Crown Solicitor, and eventually he became a partner a law firm in Auckland, and later was appointed Crown Prosecutor for New Zealand. His autobiography is called A Long Brief: Recollections of a Crown Solicitor.
Wellington Football Club, 1901
Back row (L to R) : C.G. Rees, W.P. McLachlan, B. Gallagher, J. Walsh, A.B. Wilson,
G. Hutchinson, C.H. Manson, W. Burr, W.J. Leversedge.
(Centre row) : N. Galbraith, Esq. (Vice-President), J. Longton, F.L. Row, V. R. Meredith (Captain),
O.G. Kember, A.C. McIntyre, J.E.M. Burnett, A.T. Bate. Esq. (President).
(Front row): C.J. Lovatt, C.E. Bird, F. Taylor. (Absent): M.E. Wood and I.F. Johnson
- The game at The Ynys in Aberdare took place on 12th December, 1935. The home team was called the Mid-Districts of Wales. The All Blacks won 31-10.
- The All Blacks were staying in Porthcawl whilst they played their three games in South Wales. After a further win against Neath & Aberavon, they went on to play Wales on 21st December, 1935. The result of the international was a win for Wales, by a narrow margin, 13-12.