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Albert Asher

Albert Asher was an international in rugby union and rugby league, as well as working for years as a fireman.

Having been a rugby player in Tauranga in his teenage years, Albert Asher was engaged by the Parnell Rugby Club to live and play with them. He soon began playing for Auckland, and was a member of the first Auckland team to win the Ranfurly Shield in 1902.

In 1903 he joined the New Zealand team that toured Australia. He scored 17 tries on the trip, a record for an Australian tour which stood for 54 years. The next year, whilst working as a fireman, he sustained a severe leg injury which would keep him out of rugby for two seasons, including the All Blacks tour of England in 1905.

In 1908, together with his brother Ernest, he formed a Māori team to tour Australia, accompanied by tribal leaders. Upon the team’s arrival in Sydney, they were greeted by New South Wales Rugby League officials, who convinced them to change codes immediately. Until 1913, Albert Asher was a New Zealand representative at rugby league, and he and Ernest established the City Rovers League Club.

Upon retirement from rugby, Albert Asher held a range of occupations, including farmer, gas stoker, railwayman, labourer and clerk, and for 20 years he kept the grounds at Carlaw Park. He was still popular among autograph hunters well into his 80s.

Adapted by Patrick Whatman from the DNZB biography by Robin C. McConnell

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Albert Asher, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated