Tangiwai Shield, Commemorating 1953 Rail Disaster, to be Awarded in NZ vs. SA Test Series

In a poignant tribute to a tragic event in New Zealand‘s history, the Tangiwai Shield will be awarded to the winners of the Test series between New Zealand and South Africa. The shield is named after the Tangiwai rail disaster of 1953, one of the country’s most devastating events, which claimed 151 lives, including the fiancé of New Zealand fast bowler Bob Blair.

The trophy holds deep significance, as it marks the tragic train accident that occurred on Christmas Eve in 1953, during the second Test between New Zealand and South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Despite the personal tragedy, Bob Blair displayed immense courage by returning to the field after initially withdrawing from the match. His resilience and determination to play in the face of personal loss are remembered as one of the most defining moments in New Zealand’s sporting history.

The shield, crafted by carver David Ngawati from the native New Zealand timber puriri and featuring an inlaid mere made from pounamu, a stone sourced from the Tangiwai region, serves as a symbol of remembrance and resilience. It will be blessed and presented to the teams in Tauranga as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and acknowledging the past while moving forward.

Scott Weenink, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), expressed his delight at the shield’s creation, emphasizing its significance in honoring the memory of the Tangiwai disaster and the courage displayed by those affected. He highlighted the uplifting and heartbreaking nature of the story, which resonates deeply with both New Zealand and South Africa.

Pholetsi Moseki, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the importance of preserving and honoring the history of the sport. He extended his best wishes to everyone touched by the tragedy and expressed confidence that the Tangiwai Shield would serve as a meaningful reminder of the shared history between the two nations.

The inaugural presentation of the Tangiwai Shield adds a poignant and symbolic layer to the upcoming Test series between New Zealand and South Africa, highlighting the profound impact of sport in commemorating historical events and fostering a sense of unity and remembrance.

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