As a kid, I had posters of two heroes on my wall. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant faced off against the great All Black winger, John Kirwan.

The man in the No 14 jersey appealed for one principal reason: He absolutely skinned his opposite number every time he got the ball. No other winger in rugby history was as consistently untouchable as JK between early-1987 and late-1989. But enough sucking up to the boss.

I soon came to appreciate the fact this All Black hero - a bloke at home in the most macho of New Zealand settings - was a man of the world.

He had his hair done. He wore a suit like it wasn't borrowed. He sold Italian lights in Parnell. He lived in Italy and spoke the lingo. Wow! You could be an All Black and be worldly!


He coached in Italy and lived there for a dozen years before shifting to Japan where he embraced samurai spirit while running their rugby team.

Ultimately, the Herald's guest editor was that most classic of Kiwi figures, a young Kiwi wanting to go and see the world.

A couple of decades later, Kiwis still have that wanderlust. The song remains the same.

Auckland icon and New Zealand champion Sir John Kirwan is The New Zealand Herald's first guest editor in its 150-year history, he has firm ideas of what should be in the paper and online with special attention to the success of south Auckland.