Friday, October 15, 2010

New Zealand and Rugby

I just arrived in New Zealand, where I’ll spend the next month doing some research and shooting for a long-term photographic project very close to my heart.

My plane landed in Auckland very late, almost at two in the morning. I was hoping for a quick pass through immigration so that I could rush to my (excellent) hostel and get some much-needed sleep. Immigration officers had a different idea. Something in my profile had raised red flags. Maybe the fact that I am traveling by myself for a month without really knowing where I’ll go? Maybe that I was a Spaniard, living in the Philippines, coming from Australia? I will never know, but the truth is that I was grilled with questions for quite some time. A tough-looking agent would ask me the same questions again and again, like a Stasi agent trying to catch me in a contradiction. Finally he asked: what do you know about New Zealand? 

I candidly replied: “Not much, but I do know about your passion for rugby and, since the times when I was a rugby player myself, have always thought that the All Blacks are the best team in the world”.

The agent raised his eyes from the computer and gave me a broad, warm smile. Ah, you’re a rugby player? What position did you play?

“Fullback” I said, somewhat proudly.

At that point he stood up and left, only to come back 20 seconds later with something in his hand. He looked at me, then at my passport and, with a slam that made the desk creak in protest, stamped it. Approved. Enjoy your stay! 

He was an almost two-meter tall, strong, honest-looking man. Probably a second-row in his younger days.

(Note to self: In this wonderful country, always mention that I played rugby in the first two minutes of any conversation).

Today I met and interviewed a legend of the sport, as nice as a person as great he was as a player with the All Blacks. But I will leave that for another post.


  1. A la espera estamos: este mes te voy a enlazar todo en Tornarugby y en ZR si te parece bien.

  2. Claro, yo encantado, aunque tambien habra algun comentario que no sea de rugby y, de momento, no habra muchas fotos.

    La entrevista con Bryan fue fantastica. Ya te contare en detalle y pondre un post aqui pronto. Como habrias disfrutado! La semana que viene he quedado con el para ver sus entrenamientos con chavales en un colegio.

    Manana Domingo, Eden Park: Auckland Rugby Vs Otago. He conseguido acreditacion de prensa, asi que estare "pisando hierba".