The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Rugby star's big heart

Adam Thomson of the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images

All Black and Highlanders flanker Adam Thomson is on a personal mission to raise money for the Otago Spirit women's rugby team so they can play in the NPC. The team was dumped from the national women's championship after the financial collapse of the Otago Rugby Football Union, but if they raise $20,000 by the end of the month they can get back in the league.

Thomson is donating his personal RWC rugby ball - signed by every member of the World Cup winning squad - on Trade Me to contribute towards the financial goal.

"Men's rugby was only just saved after a well-publicised drive to keep the ORFU afloat but the women were not so lucky," the rugby star said.

"This is a personal mission to help the region and the game that has given me so much by giving the Otago women an opportunity to play".

Thomson, 30, a keen memorabilia fan, was burgled in December and his World Cup test jerseys were stolen from his Dunedin apartment.

His charitable turn for women's rugby demonstrates a big heart. At the time of going to print, Thomson's signed rugby ball was at $1500. But bidders still have time to get in quick before the auction closes on Friday.

We hope World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry, who is hosting a one-hour show on RadioLive tomorrow afternoon ahead of a gala dinner in his honour on Thursday in South Auckland, helps to plug the good cause too.


LA-based Rhys Darby started the Twitter accolades. "Great job on SNL tonight," and One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush showed her support too for 22-year-old Kiwi songbird Kimbra.

The Hamilton-born pop star performed on late-night American comedy show Saturday Night Live over the weekend with Aussie artist Gotye. The pair sang their hit Somebody That I Used to Know.

"Had so much fun on SNL," Kimbra tweeted. "It was an awesome experience."

SNL has proved a popular launching pad for many artists, including manufactured British boy band One Direction who arrive in New Zealand later this week.


Labour leader David Shearer would easily pass a lie detector test, judging by his upcoming performance on TV3 show Would I Lie To You? The former United Nations worker, who completed humanitarian missions to Liberia, Rwanda and Afghanistan, takes on the celebrities this week and wins the game.

"He was definitely the best liar we've had on the show," said team leader and comedian Jesse Mulligan, who is on a culinary mission to Los Angeles this week as a part-time food critic. "No one could pick out Shearer's lies. I guess that's because he's had the most amazing life of anyone who's been on the programme. His stories seemed so ridiculous, but they were true."

The 54-year-old party leader probably won't do much to change the adage politicians can't be trusted. In last year's Reader's Digest Most Trusted list, Shearer, an MP at the time, missed out on a ranking, but his former Labour boss, Phil Goff, was voted number 96 out of 100.

Not that his counterparts fared much better. Prime Minister John Key came in at 90; Bill English (94); Pita Sharples (95); Tariana Turia (97); Winston Peters (98); Rodney Hide (99); and Hone Harawira bottom last.

It seems politicians are the least-trusted group of professionals. But they're not lacking in charisma. Outrageous Fortune star Siobhan Marshall, who is on Shearer's TV team, was evidently smitten. "She was staring at him like he was Jesus," Mulligan said with a laugh.


Auckland's celebrity crowd gathered at The Civic on Saturday night for the premiere of the musical Jersey Boys, and one famous face got extra special VIP treatment.

Multi-millionaire Marc Ellis arrived at the exclusive opening night performance looking considerably underdressed. "No one said it was a premiere. I was in a T-shirt and a hat," Ellis said on his radio breakfast show yesterday.

The former sports star brought his father Chris, but the pair got up after only 40 minutes into the performance and walked out of the auditorium. "They made quite a kerfuffle climbing past everyone," an onlooker said.

"We'd had a couple of beers beforehand and after about an hour I had to sneak out. I was in the middle of the row and I had to get out," Ellis said.

"I asked a guy in management if we could sit up in the Muppet seats and he let us. The old man and I had our own private booth to watch the show."

While the Ellis men enjoyed the musical from the exclusive balcony seats, like Muppet characters Statler and Waldorf, more than 2000 people watched the show from the main auditorium.

Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae was there with his aides-de-camp from the Defence Force, as were MPs John Banks and Maggie Barry.

TV stars Wendy Petrie and Toni Street were seen dancing in their seats, while broadcaster Kerre Woodham leapt out of hers. "I was the only one who got up and danced in the aisle," Woodham tweeted Monty Betham, who was one of many to observe her solitary dance moves.

There were former and current sportsmen aplenty from Anthony Boric, Awen Guttenbeil, Kevin Locke, Sir Graham Henry, John Hart, Buck Shelford and Sir John Walker.

The Diary also spotted Sir Peter Leitch, Julie Christie, Madeleine Sami, Tamati Coffey, Carolyn Robertson, Candy Lane and Close Up presenter Mark Sainsbury with his Wellington-based wife Ramona Rasch. Most would have probably felt like Alison Leonard the next day: husky-voiced and still singing.

- NZ Herald

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