Thomas Ryan (rugby union)

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Thomas Ryan
Date of birth(1864-01-12)12 January 1864
Place of birth London, England
Date of death 21 February 1927(1927-02-21) (aged 63)
Place of death Auckland, New Zealand
School Church of England Grammar School, Auckland
University Académie Julian
Rugby union career
Position(s) Three-quarter
All Black No. 12
Provincial / State sides
1882–88 Auckland 9 ()
National team(s)
1884 New Zealand 0 (0)

Thomas "Darby" Ryan (12 January 1864 – 21 February 1927) was a New Zealand rugby union player, artist and lake steamer captain.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.


Early life and family

Born in London, England, on 12 January 1864, Ryan was the son of Mary Ryan and Charles Aldworth. He emigrated with his mother to New Zealand in about 1865, settling in Auckland, and was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, Parnell. In 1903 he married Mary Faith Murray, daughter of Ngāpuhi leader Kamareira Te Hautakiri Wharepapa, at Auckland. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.


Ngāpuhi is a Māori iwi located in the Northland region of New Zealand, and centred in the Hokianga, the Bay of Islands, and Whangarei.

Rugby union

A wing three-quarter, Ryan represented Auckland at a provincial level, and captained the side in 1886. [1] He was a member of the first New Zealand national side in 1884. He became the first player to kick a conversion and drop goal for New Zealand. He toured New South Wales in 1884 and played in all eight matches. In all, he played nine matches for New Zealand and scored 35 points. [2] He did not play any full internationals as New Zealand did not play its first Test match until 1903.

Auckland are the top representative rugby union team of the Auckland Rugby Football Union in New Zealand. They currently compete in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership. Auckland has been the most successful team in NPC and its successors, winning the title a record 16 times. Auckland have also produced a record number of All Blacks, 181, the most recent being Akira Ioane in 2017. Auckland are currently coached by Alama Ieremia.

1884 New Zealand rugby union tour of New South Wales

The first New Zealand team was selected in 1884, for a tour to New South Wales, Australia. It was a privately organized selection as the New Zealand Rugby Union was founded not until eight years later. On 22 May 1884, before the tour start, the team played a test match against the Wellington Rugby Football Union team, winning 9 to 0. During the tour, the team recorded eight wins in eight matches in Australia.

Later, while studying in Paris in 1893, he refereed the French club final. [2]


An accomplished artist, Ryan studied at the Académie Julian in Paris between 1892 and 1893. He worked mainly in watercolours and was known for his landscapes, seascapes and portraits of Māori. He exhibited at the Auckland Society of Arts over 36 years, and at the 1889 New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin. [1] Three of his works—Champagne Falls, Wairapa Gorge (1891); Interior of a Whare (c. 1891); and Sunset, Ngauruhoe Volcano (1905)—are in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery. [3]

Académie Julian Art school in Paris, France

The Académie Julian was a private art school for painting and sculpture founded in Paris, France, in 1867 by French painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian (1839–1907) that was active from 1868 through 1968. It remained famous for the number and quality of artists who attended during the great period of effervescence in the arts in the early twentieth century. After 1968, it integrated with ESAG Penninghen.

Māori people indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand

The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced; later, a prominent warrior culture emerged.

New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition (1889)

The New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition was a world's fair held in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1889. It opened on 26 November 1889 and ran until 19 April 1890 with 625,000 visits made, and made a profit.

A friend of Charles Goldie, Ryan assisted Goldie with introductions to Māori. Illustrated articles by Ryan were published in New Zealand Graphic. [1]

Charles Frederick Goldie was a New Zealand artist, best known for his portrayal of Māori dignitaries.


Ryan obtained his master mariner's certificate in 1900, and soon set up the first launch services for the public on Lakes Rotorua and Taupo. [1] Between 1900 and 1909 he part-owned the SS Tongaririo, which ran between Taupo and Tokaanu, and was its captain from 1900 to about 1920. [1] [2]

Later life and death

About 1920, Ryan took up a farm at Whangapara on Great Barrier Island. On 21 February 1927 he died in Parnell, Auckland. He was buried at Purewa Cemetery. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 McMillan, N.A.C. "Ryan, Thomas". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Luxford, Bob. "Darby Ryan". New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  3. "Thomas Ryan". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 January 2016.