Black Sox Legend
Mark was the captain of the New Zealand Men's Softball Team, the Black Sox, from 1989 until the beginning of 2001 and led his team to victory at the world championships in 1996 and 2000. He returned to the team in 2004 when they became the first team ever to win three consecutive Softball World Championships.
He was named Wellington Sportsman of the Year in 1989, 1997 and 2001 and three times NZ Softball player of the year. In 1997 he was named as Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He has been selected 12 times to the “All World Team” by the International Softball Congress (this is a world record, no-one has ever played for this team for over 11 years) and selected six times consecutively to the “All American Team” at the USA Nationals and voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player in 1990 and 1992.
As well as maintaining his highly successful sporting career on the playing field, Mark has turned his hand to coaching. He coached the Under 19 Junior Black Sox at the World Series in 2005.
Mark has also held a number of sales, promotions and project management positions and has acted as a youth worker and sports ambassador for NZ police and Sport Wellington region.
Mark’s presentations are both inspirational and entertaining. His story covers how the team did it the “hard way” using discipline and dedication as tools to success. Following their triumph at the 2004 World Championships, on home ground in Christchurch, the Black Sox have arguably become New Zealand’s most successful sports team.
Message to the Black Sox for the World Softball Championship.
To the players and management of the Black Sox,
All the best as you compete in the World Softball Championship in Saskatoon, Canada.
I know you’ll have family and friends supporting you at the championships but we can
do our bit to support you back here in New Zealand.
Good luck with your opening game against the United States on the 17th. I look forward to catching up on your progress and hearing news of your success, hopefully in the Final on the 26th July.
The Mad Butcher
The Mad Butcher is possibly the most famous man in New Zealand, and the chain is certainly one of the most widely recognised businesses.
He has been the Kiwis assistant manager but is especially proud of being the football manager in 2005 - when his beloved Kiwis beat Australia 24-0 to win the Tri-Series, and in 2006, when the Kiwis were beaten in extra time. He is an honorary league ambassador for the Vodafone Warriors, and both the Auckland and New Zealand Rugby Leagues.
Pete was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in 1991 for his work in the community, the Butcher is also a fundraising champion, supporting many causes - particularly in the health field.
Despite his business, sporting and charity achievements, he remains proudest of his family. Janice has been by his side for 43 years and they have two daughters, Angela and Julie, and four grandchildren.
Former Tall Black / TV Presenter
Pongia played basketball with the Tall Blacks for nearly a decade, before going on to work as a sports presenter, reporting courtside and commentating, and a radio host. He has a degree in marketing.
A stalwart of the National Basketball League through the 1990s, Pongia earned greatest recognition in 2001 as a member of the Tall Black squad that defeated Australia to qualify for the 2002 world championships.
Brendon has also participated in Dancing With The Stars in 2007, with partner Hayley Holt. The couple were eliminated in the penultimate episode. Brendon is currently co-hosting Good Morning Show alongside Sarah Bradley and Steve Gray (TV presenter). He got engaged on 11 October 2008 to London-based human resources manager Michelle Kirkland, and married her in Hawke's Bay on 20 March 2009.
Former All Black Great
John James Patrick Kirwan, ONZM, MBE (born 16 December 1964) is a New Zealand born Rugby Union footballer turned coach. Kirwan, who played at wing, played 96 times (including 63 test matches) as an All Black from 1984 until 1994. Kirwan scored 67 tries in all matches for the New Zealand All Blacks which is the current record. His 199 first class tries is also a record for New Zealand first class rugby.
He played Rugby League for two seasons in the Australian Rugby League Premiership for the Auckland Warriors before finishing his playing career with the NEC Club in Japan. He is the current head coach of the Japan National Team.
In 2002, he moved to Italy to become the coach of the Italian National Rugby Team, which under his guidance improved, recording historic victories over Wales in 2003 and Scotland in 2004. However after a winless 2005 Six Nations campaign, he was relieved of his managerial duties on 8 April 2005.
Kirwan was announced by the JRFU as the new Japan coach on 25 October 2006. He acted as team advisor until he took up the head coach role on 1 January 2007.
He is a public figure in New Zealand for the awareness of mental illness, due to suffering depression. His name appears in New Zealand English where depression may be called "a case of the Kirwans". On 4 June 2007, he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to mental health awareness. He had been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 for his rugby career.
John speaks fluent Japanese and Italian and is married to an Italian with three children.
Former Black Cap Great
Stephen Paul Fleming (born 1 April 1973 in Christchurch, New Zealand) is a New Zealand cricketer, and the former captain of the New Zealand national cricket team, known as the Black Caps, in Test and one-day cricket. Known for his astute tactical abilities, he is New Zealand's most capped test player with 111 appearances, longest-serving and most successful captain. Having led the side to 28 victories and having won Test match series' against India,
England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. He retired from international cricket on 26 March 2008. Fleming played in the 2008 Indian Premier League for the Chennai Super Kings after being signed for US$350,000.
On 9 May 2007 Fleming married his long term partner Kelly Payne in a ceremony held in Wellington. The couple also have a young daughter born in 2006.
Silver Fern & former White Sox Squad Member
Wishing the Black Sox's the best of luck and skill for a 4 peat and also for their 6th world championship title. It's an outstanding achievement so far and all of New Zealand is very proud of their history.
Will be watching the results with interest and look forward to the crunch games which I know the Black Sox's will succeed well in.
King Carlos James Spencer is a New Zealand rugby union footballer who currently plays at fly-half (first five-eighth) for Gloucester Rugby in England and formerly for the New Zealand All Blacks.
He played for the Blues Super 12 franchise from the inception of the competition in 1996 until 2005, and has played extensively for the Auckland National Provincial Championship (NPC) side.
He has generally specialised in the position of 1st 5/8 though he has also played fullback at national and international levels.
Spencer first rose to prominence when he starred in a Ranfurly Shield challenge in 1991, playing for the Horowhenua team against Auckland. Auckland coach Graham Henry spotted Spencer's talent and recruited him to play for the Auckland team.
In 1996, Spencer played for the Blues in the first game ever played in the Super 12 competition, kicking off the professional era of rugby union. He went on to score 608 points for the Blues in the Super Rugby competition.
As a player, Spencer is valued for his imaginative kicking and passing game, and his ability to unlock defences. He is also a handy, if not entirely reliable, goal kicker. Only three players have scored more test points than Spencer for New Zealand — Grant Fox, Andrew Mehrtens and most recently, Daniel Carter. His best performances came against South African sides against whom he enjoyed great success. Indeed his record against the Boks is amongst the best of all All Black players and contrast with his predecessor and successor who have both struggled under the bokke hammer.
Rugby League Legend
To Roman (old school mate) and the Black Sox. All the best on your quest to be six time World Champions.The Warriors are right behind the team and wishing you every success.
Stacey Jones, ONZM (born 7 May 1976 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a rugby league footballer and has been named amongst the greatest New Zealand has ever produced.
He currently plays for the New Zealand Warriors in the National Rugby League. His usual position is at halfback, but he has also briefly played at five-eighth during his distinguished career, which includes 46 Tests for New Zealand (1995-2006). Stacey Jones is the first and only life member of the New Zealand Warriors.
Jones' vision and ability to control the game when his team was on attack earned him the sobriquet "the little general", a reference also to his small stature in comparison to that of most rugby league players. Jones was often able to find players with a high bombing kick at either sides of the field or place a sneaky through ball for oncoming players to pounce on.