'Invincibles' All Blacks jersey donated to NPDC's Puke Ariki

31 May 2019

All Blacks legend Handley Brown’s jersey from the 1924/5 ‘Invincibles’ tour has been gifted to NPDC’s Puke Ariki. 

Brown’s 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 April after talking to Te Pua Wānanga O Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre about 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. Handley was born here and it is only right that his jersey from the tour remains in the place he called home,” says Mrs Brown. “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. Brown also played 49 times for Taranaki between 1923 and 1930.

Mrs Brown 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. 

“This is a fantastic addition to the Puke Ariki collection and we are honoured that the Brown family has entrusted the care of the jersey to us,” says Puke Ariki Social History Curator, Megan Wells. “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.”

About the donation process

  • Are you interested in donating family or community heritage items to Puke Ariki to help us preserve, document and tell the stories of the Taranaki region and its people? 
  • The first step is to contact one of Puke Ariki’s curators to discuss your options.
  • You can call in to the Taranaki Research Centre  or contact us via the website https://pukeariki.com/research-and-heritage/donating-to-the-collection/ 

Puke Ariki and libraries fact file

  • It first opened on 15 June 2003.
  • The total number of visitors to Puke Ariki and district libraries in the 2016/17 year was 809,036.
  • In that same period, Puke Ariki and community libraries issued 792,563 items. 
  • It is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre.
  • Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Gallery of Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regular
Megan Wells with Vivienne Brown and the All Blacks jersey