Colourful Wakatipu-based ex-All Black getting paid his dues


Colourful ex-All Black and Gibbston resident Grahame Thorne will be publicly honoured in Christchurch tonight, ahead of tomorrow’s Bledisloe Test. 

Thorne, 64, and two other former ABs, Bill McCaw and Alex Wyllie, will belatedly receive Test caps, a tradition interrupted by the Second World War but re-introduced in 1997. 

The families of 10 other former All Blacks, now deceased, will also be presented with Test caps. 

Thorne played 10 Tests from 1968-70, seven as a winger and three in his favoured centre position. His only try came against Australia. 

He retired after the South African tour in 1970, then returned to the Republic and played for Northern Transvaal and Natal.

Thorne, Wyllie and McCaw – a distant relative of ABs’ captain Richie McCaw – will also join the All Blacks and Wallabies on the field before tomorrow night’s Test at AMI Stadium to watch the haka and national anthems. 

After rugby, Thorne was a television commentator and sports presenter – who infamously permed his hair at one stage – and he also had a short stint as a Member of Parliament. His car number plate is XABXMP. 

Thorne shifted to the Wakatipu two years ago. Last year he bought the Stone House on embattled Christchurch developer Dave Henderson’s Anthem vineyard estate, after initially renting it.