A priceless piece of All Blacks history has been gifted to Taranaki’s Puke Ariki museum.
All Blacks legend Handley Brown’s jersey from the 1924/5 Invincibles tour has been donated to Puke Ariki by his family.
Daughter-in-law Vivienne Brown, the widow of All Blacks great Ross Brown, and four generations of the famous Taranaki family presented the jersey to the museum in the hope of preserving it for future generations.
After spending the last 90 or so years in first a tin and then a box with tissue paper, the jersey is now in the Puke Ariki collection and will go on display during the Rugby World Cup.
“My family and I wanted the jersey to remain here in Taranaki,” Vivienne says.
“Handley was born here and it is only right that his jersey from the tour remains in the place he called home.
“We know the staff at Puke Ariki will look after it and preserve it properly.”
Handley Brown played 20 times for the All Blacks between 1924 and 1926 and was part of the team who became known as The Invincibles after a dominating tour of the UK, France, Ireland and Canada, winning all 32 games. He also played 49 times for Taranaki between 1923 and 1930.
Vivienne says the jersey is in great condition for its age and has been only occasionally brought out of its box as she has kept it away from her many grand and great-grandchildren’s fingers.
She is also keen to donate other All Blacks and Taranaki rugby memorabilia from Ross Brown’s distinguished playing career.
Puke Ariki social history curator Megan Wells says the jersey is a fantastic addition to the Puke Ariki collection.
“We are honoured that the Brown family has entrusted the care of the jersey to us,” she says.
“This is an item of national significance and is sure to appeal to all visitors but especially All Blacks and rugby fans.
“It’s a special year for Puke Ariki as we celebrate 100 years of museums in Taranaki and we are looking forward to displaying the All Blacks jersey to complement the Whare Kahurangi exhibition.”
Main photo caption: Puke Ariki Social History Curator Megan Wells and Vivienne Brown with Handley Brown’s All Blacks jersey from the Invincibles tour.