Former All Black (1981-1985)
Arthur is one of Trident High School’s first students who started in the third form when Trident opened its doors in 1973. In 1973 Trident was only open to third and fourth form and each year it opened up a new level meaning Arthur completed his five years of high school at Trident. The ex- All Black played for our national team in 23 matches including nine international games. Since retiring from rugby Arthur has run his building company in Dunedin. While he has lived in Dunedin for some time, he has strong ties to Whakatane as he has family that he returns to visit often in Poroporo.
Upon reflection of what Trident was like when Arthur was a student, there are some vast differences highlighted in his experience and that of our current students. Our students would be surprised to learn that Arthur was caned by his teacher for misdemeanors such as ‘answering back’ and he believes that that harsh discipline was also effective. Luckily canings were not common for Arthur as he says he was generally respectful of his teachers and had good relationships with them, performing well in class as well as on the rugby field. This positive rapport must have been the case, as Arthur learnt to drive by using a teachers car - Mr Dickson’s, who lived near the school and passed his car keys to Arthur to practice driving.
While at school, Arthur was a mad keen rugby player as well as champion in athletic events and a keen softball player. In third form Arthur played for the 2nd XV and he proved a leader on the sportsfield. They regularly competed against Whakatane High School in which the competition was fierce and the young team of only third and fourth formers managed to hold their own against a senior WHS team, proving to be worthy competition for a much older team. Sport, specifically rugby, dominated Arthur’s week out of school and Arthur attributes sport helping him grow as a person. His dedication to sport was top notch- on Saturday’s if he couldn’t find a ride to get to school for his game he would have to swim across the river from Rewatu Road (in winter!) with his rugby gear trailing in a plastic bag behind him. It was dedication like that that meant his skills quickly improved and he proved to be a firm favourite for team selectors. He also knew that goal setting was important and made decisions based around his goals such as riding his bike instead of driving to increase his fitness and he watched what he ate.
In gaining a spot in the All Blacks Arthur says it was essential for him to make goals for himself and realise those goals. He knew that he had to do the mahi to get the rewards, that no-one was going to get fit or upskill for him. One drill he repeatedly went through was working to place a rugby ball exactly where he wanted it to get - he would aim for a flag on a flagpole and throw to hit that target again and again. This determination and increased skill meant doors opened for Arthur and he made choices to walk through them, choices that eventually led Arthur to a spot on the coveted national team.
Ensuring there is a plan for after a professional sports career is crucial. While Arthur was in his last year at Trident he applied and was accepted into a Maori Trade course in Hamilton to be a builder/ carpenter. His apprenticeship took him 6 years instead of 4 due to being away often with rugby commitments as he was still an apprentice when he was selected for the All Blacks, but he stuck at it. This apprenticeship and the skills gained meant that upon leaving the All Blacks he was able to turn his hand to start his own building business in Dunedin.
Asked for words of advice for our students, Arthur says that “there will be hiccups in life, but these hiccups do not determine your future, it is important to get up, reflect, adapt and carry on to be stronger”.