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4 AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, AUGUST 9, 2013
Friendships, fun and a huge amount of pride
The rugby club is a second home for Ken Blackwell
and Jeff McIntyre. The Mt Wellington Rugby Club life
members told Lauren Priestley why they can't keep
away from the sidelines.
Pairing up: Ken Blackwell and Jeff McIntyre have been volunteering for Mt Wellington rugby for decades.
Photo: LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Ken Blackwell and Jeff McIntyre
say spending every Saturday on a
muddy rugby field has led to many
The pair have been volunteering
together at the Mt Wellington
Rugby Club for 20 years.
Mr Blackwell began playing at
the club in 1988.
Since then the 54-year-old
Ellerslie man has held almost
every position at the club including
coach, referee and manager.
He started the President's team
in 1989 and will celebrate its 25th
anniversary next year.
Mr Blackwell says it is the peo-
ple who keep club members loyal.
The club is known on the rugby
scene for having a strong, family-
oriented atmosphere, he says.
I love seeing the clubrooms full
after a rugby game. We get a lot of
pride out of watching the kids play
on Saturday mornings and then
watching as they come up through
So many kids have grown up
Every committee member at the
club is involved with a team,
whether as a player, coach or man-
ager. Mr Blackwell says that is a
unique characteristic compared
with most Auckland rugby clubs.
It's just about being part of the
rugby community. We all get a lot
of joy out of it.''
This is the first year since 1988
that Mr Blackwell has eased off
most of his club volunteering, he
And it is a welcome change to his
usually hectic Saturday schedule.
It's the first year that I've been
able to go along and actually watch
the game. I can sit down and relax
instead of running around.''
His old mate'' Jeff McIntyre, 53,
has been involved with Mt Welling-
ton for almost 20 years and is the
current club manager.
Mr McIntyre says the club is one
of the smallest in Auckland and
that is part of its charm.
It's just about meeting friends
and helping kids along the way.
Our size means we've got the
opportunity to do that.''
Mt Wellington merged with Te
Papapa-Onehunga at senior level
earlier this year to produce the
combined premier team Maunga-
rua or two mountain''.
The team put in a consistent per-
formance this season and won the
Presidents Cup -- the fourth tier of
Auckland premier club rugby -- last
weekend against Waitakere City.
It is a sign of good things to
come, Mr McIntyre says.
It was always going to be a
Does your club have a good sport
you'd like to tell us about? Email
email@example.com or phone 630 5419
to tell us their story.
Chef revelling in bright Thai flavours
Chef Andy Ricker has spent more than two decades
travelling to Thailand to ensure his Portland and New
York restaurants Pok Pok are serving up the newest
and most sought-after Thai cuisine. Along with chef
Nick Honeyman, he will host A Taste of Pok Pok, a
unique take on the Thai banquet, for one night only
on August 28 as part of August's Restaurant Month.
Reporter Jess Lee spoke with the international chef
about the hidden depths of Thai food and
questionable inflight meals.
10 QUESTIONS WITH chef Andy Ricker
Restaurant month: International chef Andy Ricker is taking part in Restaurant Month to give Aucklanders a true taste of
Restaurant Month is back for a
third year and will include a street
food market, wine tastings and
dining experiences with
More than 120 central Auckland
restaurants will also offer
exclusive month-long menus
throughout August to suit all
budgets and bellies.
Go to biglittlecity.co.nz/
1. What got you into food in the
first place and what was it
about Thai food that had you
Travelling in Thailand in the
mid-80s as a backpacker. [It was]
the brightness and complexity of
the flavours and the simplicity of
2. What did you learn from
your time spent time backpack-
ing across the globe working at
restaurants, including here in
That I was capable of being com-
pletely self-reliant in foreign situ-
ations, on both geographical and
3. Favourite dish?
Don't have one, impossible to
answer, sorry. My favorite dish is
usually the thing I am eating at the
4. Biggest misconception
about Thai fare?
That it is supposed to be cheap,
huge portioned and that the rice
should be free.
Thai food is one of the great
cuisines of the world and should
not be relegated only to cheap take-
away or elevated fusion food in the
Also, it is a regional, seasonal
cuisine just like any of the other
great cuisines of the world. The
rainbow curry and stir fried food
that we get in the West is both its
own cuisine and a really narrow
cross-section of what is really avail-
able in Thailand, and is not necess-
arily a reflection of what is eaten
every day in Thailand.
5. What's the trick to finding
good food while travelling?
Find a busy place full of locals
and order what they are ordering.
If you insist on ordering the chic-
ken burrito at a taqueria in Mexico
when everyone else is ordering the
tripe, you are missing out on what
is good there.
6. Any tips to creating Thai
dishes at home?
Don't try to make up shortcuts,
you will end up somewhere, but it
will not be necessarily the best
A common mistake is applying
Western cooking logic and tech-
nique to a cuisine that has its own
set of rules and techniques.
7. Strangest food you've ever
Probably the strangest thing I
have tasted recently was a gnoc-
chi'' served to me on an airplane.
Sounds innocuous but it had the
texture of wallpaper paste and the
flavour of canned ravioli and the
smell of vomit.
8. One ingredient you
couldn't live without?
9. Any other cuisines you've
discovered on your travels that
you might want to try your
hand at in the kitchen?
Yucatecan food. Their culinary
history has links back to ancient
Mayan culture as well as influence
from foreign invaders, such as the
Spanish. It is vibrant, spicy, simple
10. What do you want
Aucklanders to take away from
your menu during Restaurant
Hopefully the realisation or
reinforcement of the idea that there
is more to Thai food than central
Thai and Chinese Thai dishes.
That seasonal, regional food from
Thailand can offer a different
flavour profile than that which we
are accustomed to finding in the
West and that it is worth seeking
Andy Ricker's A Taste of Pok Pok
will be held at Everybody's Izakaya, 7
Fort St on August 28 from 6.30pm.
Go to iticket.co.nz for tickets.
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