New faces in city's Sports Hall of Fame

By Jared Smith, jared.smith@wanganuichronicle.co.nz


A giant with the oval ball, a legend in a rowboat and a family who dominated whichever sports to which they turned their hands.

Last night's 2012 Property Brokers/Rivercity Livestock Ltd Wanganui Sports Awards saw the latest worthy additions to the elite company of the Wanganui Sports Hall of Fame.

Now represented by 19 champion names, joining the roll call are the late Originals All Black Charlie Seeling, Olympic rowing silver medallist Dick Tonks and the mighty McIntyre family.

The McIntyres are the vanguard of the late Barney, wife Annie and their gifted children Joan, Neville, Mary, Roy and Gordon who collectively won national honours in hockey, golf and softball.

Tonks's induction is recognition of his great success as an oarsman in the 1970s, rather than his current world-beating contributions as a New Zealand coach and administrator.

This is due to rules which state nominees must be retired at least five years to be considered.

The induction of Charles Edward (Bronco) Seeling (1883-1956) recognises the Wanganui-born loose forward's mighty contributions in the formative years of world rugby and then league when he switched codes.

Seeling played for the Wanganui Pirates and the representative team in 1903 before moving to Auckland, where he enjoyed Ranfurly Shield success from 1904 to 1909.

Between 1904-8 he played 39 matches for New Zealand, including 11 tests, most notably 29 games on the legendary Originals 1905-6 tour of the British Isles, France and America.

Spotted by league scouts on tour, he signed with Wigan in 1910 and played 13 seasons with the club, three as captain. At the height of Seeling's playing career, English scribe E.H.D. Sewell was moved to write that a better forward "may not exist".

Seeling's name is one of six club legends chiselled in stone at Wigan's Central Park. He died in a car accident in 1973.

For Richard William (Dick) Tonks (born 1951) the recognition was for his time at the highest level of competitive rowing precisely the silver medal of the New Zealand's coxless four at the 1972 Munich Olympics with Ross Collinge, Dudley Storey and Noel Mills.

Starting under his father's coaching on the Wanganui river at age 13 as part of the Union club, through his dedication to fitness, Tonks became a strong sculler.

He made the New Zealand Colt's eight in 1971 and a year later stroked the coxless four to their silver medal at Munich.

Other international honours included competing in the 1973 and 1974 European championships in Moscow and Lucerne, in the coxed four and quadruple sculls respectively.

Tonks was also in the quadruple sculls at the 1975 world championships in Nottingham and won numerous New Zealand Championship medals.

The Wanganui District Council-administered selection panel this year comprised councillor and panel chairwoman Sue Westwood, former Sport Wanganui chairwoman Christine Jones, Wanganui Iwi representative Ken Mair, former chronicle sports editor John Phillips, WDC sport and recreation adviser Keith Smith and Wanganui businessman and multi-sport event organiser Mark Stoneman.

Turn to page 15 for a feature on the extraordinary McIntyre clan.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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