Greg goes to The New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame
Something new on your sporting pages this week. For a change of pace, Critic sent the bravest and most hirsute reporter we could find on the most dangerous assignment we could dream up. Faux-Geordie reporter Greg Hall was instructed to stake out the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, examine some exhibits, chat to the locals, and report back to his superiors. Here's what he came up with.
Upstairs in that big, pretty building with trains is the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall was established in Dunedin in 1999 by esteemed author and former Scarfie Ron Palenski. Critic sent me to visit Ron because fan favourite Gus Gawn got his head stuck in a doorframe and no amount of petroleum jelly could set him free. I had thoughtfully brought Ron a muffin but he wasn’t there, so my list of questions sadly went to waste. I wasn’t about to let the same fate befall the muffin, so I ate it even though the cute little old lady at the desk said I couldn’t. I ate the muffin because I’m an Instagramming hipster journo and I don't play by the rules. I walked into the first exhibit and nearly dropped my muffin as a radio started blaring at me about some rugby game from ages ago. I calmed down and started listening to it, but then didn’t anymore because I found a button which said “push for the smell of New Zealand rugby”. I pushed it. It pumped out the smell of Deepheat. I freaked out and started worrying about someone sneaking up on me with a broom handle.
I was the only person in the Sports Hall of Fame, and with all the old clothing and hidden radios shouting at me at odd intervals it was a strange experience. The information and the props were pretty well done. It was interesting seeing old clothes from past athletes and a cricket box of Sir Richard Hadlee’s with motivational quotes in it. This proves that even cool people like knobby stuff like that. And before you ask, yes, he is cool. Why? Because he had a moustache.
There are currently 171 inductees, from the obvious rugby union stalwarts like Fred Allen and Sean Fitzpatrick to wood chopper Ned Shewry and sheep shearer Godfrey Bowen, though I’m not sure if these are actually sports. Inductions take place every two years, and nominations can be made by anyone. The old lady at the desk asked me politely to ask the editor John Stockman (I think she meant Joe) if he would please stop nominating himself, as trying to look like a Coronation Street character isn’t a sport and probably never will be. She also said to stop sliding Polaroids of Howie in with the nominations.
I enjoyed the Sports Hall of Fame, in a speaking-to-a-Jehovah’s-Witness-for-a-laugh kinda way. You’re probably only going be in Dunedin for a short while and its only $3 entry, so go check it out and learn some sporting history. I did, and look at me now.
P.S. check out www.squarefootball.net for original football articles and Greg Hall on tap. What more could you want.
P.S.S. The New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame is housed in the historic Dunedin train station. It is open 7 days a week from 10am till 4pm, and is well worth a visit. Everyone is welcome. Entry is $3.