Nelson Intermediate caretaker Roger Thorn has mown a tribute to the All Blacks on the front field as the team looks to defend its Rugby World Cup title in Japan. Photo: Fraser Heal.

All Blacks tribute mown into grass


With the All Blacks chasing a record third successive World Cup title in Japan, a Nelson school caretaker wanted to send a message of support to the side 10,000km away.

Roger Thorn was inspired to mow the message during an early morning walk home following the All Blacks’ 23-13 win over the Springboks in their opening game of pool play.

“I had to walk past the school to get home, I looked at the big open field and thought that I should get a mower out.”

Roger then went down to STIHL Shop and told his friend Isaac about the idea, to mow “All Blacks” in giant letters on the field of the school.

“He lent me a whizz-bang, walk-behind, self-propelled jobby and away I went.”

Roger carved out his creation in less than four hours.

“It took longer to mark it out than mow it out because there is quite a bit of math involved.”

Though the caretaker has now given himself an extra hour of work every week to mow over it until the All Blacks win or are eliminated, he is happy to continue doing it.

“If it went for three months, I’d keep going.”

Should the team go back to back-to-back in Japan, Roger says he will celebrate with the ultimate symbol of the All Blacks.

“If we take the thing out, i’ll do a fern.”

Though the design will be more intricate and complicated, Roger welcomes the challenge.

“Every year I mow an eight lane, 400m track for school athletics, so having had four years of practice doing that, I’m confident I can do it.”