Remembering Sir Brian Lochore this week will bring to mind other great All Blacks captains such as Wilson Whineray, Sean Fitzpatrick, Richie McCaw - and Graham Mourie. Today on The Country, Jamie Mackay spoke to Mourie about his passion for conservation and the farming industry, his involvement with organisations such as the QEII National Trust, and his memories of Sir Brian Lochore.
Mackay: Graham, thanks for some of your time on The Country, really appreciate it - share some thoughts about Sir Brian Lochore for us.
Obviously it's a big shock, I think, to the rugby community, probably as member of that I guess, I sort of grew up and came through high school when Brian was All Blacks captain. I mean, for me, probably Ian Kirkpatrick was the guy I looked up to as a loose forward mainly, but Brian as the captain and a great player, he was one of my heroes.
• Jamie Mackay: BJ Lochore left a huge legacy
[I've been] privileged over the last few years, going back to when I started to play at All Black level, to get to know Brian pretty well. [I have] not only massive respect for him as a rugby player, but also as a man. It was just the way he conducted himself. [He was] a gentleman and a deep thinker and a guy that actually contributed so much to everything he was involved in.
Mackay: Well, Richie McCaw has just recently retired and Sean Fitzpatrick's offshore, but you think of Lochore and Whineray and yourself as well, [who] are making big contributions to society post rugby.
Mourie: Yeah, I guess it's one of the privileges of having been an All Black is that people do recognise you and I guess one of the - what I'd call the obligations I suppose - having been an All Black and been an All Black captain is you've been incredibly lucky with your own life, it's just nice to be able to give back in any way you can.
Certainly I've been fortunate to be involved in the [Graeme] Dingle Foundation over the years, also [the] Rugby Foundation and the work they do with injured players and obviously [I'm] very fortunate to be elected to the QEII board recently.
So yeah, it's nice to be able to be involved in things which are hopefully helping the country and helping people lead better lives.
Mackay: You're obviously passionate about conservation.
Mourie: Yeah, well I guess I grew up on my home farm when I was a kid, we had streams that ran through the property and we used to maintain trout in there, we had native blocks which we used to trap possums in.
Certainly my grandfather was a great planter. Our farm was 208 acres, not hectares in those days, and probably about 40 acres of that was actually native forest or trees.
I grew up with that belief being instilled in me that you needed to be balanced and that there's a place for trees on farms.
I sold my home farm, my original farm, to my sister and prior to doing that I set up a QEII block on that in 1987. So [I was] just recognising at that stage that the forest was disappearing, particularly on that Taranaki ring plain.
It was something I felt was pretty important to do before I moved off the farm.
Listen to the full interview below:
Mackay: Graham Mourie, final comment from you on the state of the nation, the primary sector industries at the moment. You're heavily involved in the dairy industry. It seems to be unfashionable, almost, these days to be a dairy farmer, Graham.
Mourie: I think the dairy industry's probably been a little bit slow at getting out to try and alter perception, but I think there's definitely a lot more happening now.
One of the things that I think farmers need to really look at is - just a couple of quick facts, for example - I saw an LIC graph in a meeting we had with them a couple of months ago where the carbon footprint of a kilogram of milk solids in New Zealand has actually dropped by about 30 per cent over the last 20, 25 years.
That's just increasing the efficiency of how cows are managed - so that's one quick fact - and I guess we all know that while we want to do the right thing, if we leap onto the bandwagon and start to make it harder and harder to produce dairy in New Zealand, it's only going to be produced offshore.
The carbon footprint of the New Zealand dairy industry on a production per kilogram basis is about half of what we see in most of the other countries in the world that actually don't have farms out grazing in paddocks.
We've got a great story - we just have to be better at telling it.