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Ernest Asher

Ernest Asher began playing rugby in Tauranga, going on to become a representative. In 1908, he joined his brother Albert in forming a team of Māori players to tour Australia. Upon their arrival in Sydney, the New South Wales Rugby Football League encouraged them to switch codes on the spot.

Ernest Asher would go on to tour Australia in an all-Māori rugby league team in 1909, and then join the New Zealand league team against England in 1910. He made another tour of Australia with the national team in 1913. During this period, he and Albert helped to form the City Rovers League Club in Auckland.

Upon retirement, Ernest saw great success as a manager, selector and administrator. In 1956 he managed the New Zealand Maori Rugby League team in Australia. He also served as secretary of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board for nearly 60 years.

Outside of rugby and league, Ernest Asher was well known in weightlifting circles, and was a member of the Auckland Hairdressers’ Assistants Union. He was a hairdresser for 50 years.

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

How to cite this page

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