INVERCARGILL retailer Bernie Brown has a cabinet of treasures in his Invercargill store, McKnight and Brown.
They are reminders of the shop’s past and the people who have contributed to its rich heritage throughout the years.
Among the photographs, medals, cups and trinkets is a photograph of the 1940 Marist rugby team – the first Marist team to win the Galbraith Shield in the Invercargill club rugby competition.
Brown’s father Ron, who was president of the club at the time, his uncle Bert Brown and god-father Dan O’Shea, are also captured in sepia, in the photograph which holds pride of place.
There are two All Blacks, Jack McRae and Les Connolly, and Pat Grace who was selected for the New Zealand XV and was tracking to All Black selection but for the intervention of World War 2.
Captain Jack Newall was also a Southland representative.
In the photo are also five members who would later serve as presidents of the Marist Rugby Club P Maker, Grace, R Ferris , N Forde and M Grace.
The Brown family’s love of rugby has also seen McKnight and Brown, which Ron was a co-founder of in 1955, sponsor the team for as many years as Brown can remember probably dating back to some time in the 1960s.
Brown also ventured on to the field in the green and black jersey.
“I was only in the second XV,” he said.
Brown attended the 50th and 75th jubilees and will take part in the Marist’s centenary celebrations – catching up with fellow players and friends he has made throughout his long association with the club.
It is evident Brown’s love of rugby continues to this day.
Wearing his Marist centenary tie this week, he proudly produces another trinket from the cabinet. One which he says he is most proud of – the Paul Clifford Memorial Trophy for best
supporter in 2019.
“You can’t really put a value on the enjoyment you get out following the teams and meeting players and supporters after the game,” he said.