Grahame Thorne

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Grahame Thorne
Grahame Thorne.jpg
Birth name Grahame Stuart Thorne
Date of birth (1946-02-25) 25 February 1946 (age 72)
Place of birth Auckland, New Zealand
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 83 kg (183 lb)
School Auckland Grammar School
University University of Auckland
Rugby union career
Position(s) Second five-eighth, centre
All Black No. 66
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1968–70, 74 Auckland
Northern Transvaal
23 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1967–70 New Zealand 10 (3)

Grahame Stuart Thorne (born 25 February 1946) is a former All Black rugby player, rugby union commentator, Member of Parliament and municipal councillor. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand.

Rugby union

A centre and second five-eighth, Thorne represented Auckland at a provincial level, and was a member of the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks, from 1967 to 1970. He played 39 matches for the All Blacks including 10 internationals. In the early 1970s he lived in South Africa and played for Northern Transvaal and Natal.[1] In 2014, he featured on a list of the top 100 All Blacks.[2]

Grahame's sons Bruce and David also played rugby union. Bruce played for Transvaal and the Junior Springboks [3][4] and David played club rugby in Nelson.[4]

Sports broadcasting career

After his playing career, Thorne worked as a sports commentator for Television New Zealand, often appearing alongside Keith Quinn.[2]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1990–1993 43rd Onehunga National

Thorne was the National Party Member of Parliament for Onehunga in the 43rd parliament from the 1990 election to 1993.[5][6][7] The seat had been held by Labour since the 1938 election.[8]

Local government

After his parliamentary career Thorne held local government roles as an elected councillor[9] of Onehunga Borough Council, Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Council, Nelson City Council (2004); was an unsuccessful candidate for Christchurch City Council in 2007 then was an unsuccessful candidate for Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2010.[9] Thorne described his unsuccessful Christchurch candidacy as due to "not thinking clearly at the time" but that he had generally "given [his] best when elected to public office." [9]

Cooking shows

Thorne has had two cooking shows on New Zealand TV; Thorney's Cooking Canterbury and Thorney's Cooking Central, both produced by his son Gareth.[4]

Personal life

Thorne was adopted at birth in an adoption privately arranged by his grandfather. He described learning of his adoption at age 21 as "a devastating experience." [10][11] He has married twice, with one son born to his first (South African) wife and four children to his second (New Zealand) wife.[4][8]

Thorne's family life was beset by tragedy. His son David had a spinal injury and stroke following a hard rugby tackle in a club rugby game in Nelson in 2006,[4] and underwent long recuperation at Burwood Hospital.[9] The care of his son distracted Thorne from his local government duties and he was criticised for refusing to resign.[8]

Son Bruce died when his four wheel drive vehicle overturned near Bloemfontein in South Africa in December 2009.[3][4] Thorne struggled with grief and alcohol consumption following the accident.[4]


  1. ^ Knight, Lindsay. "Grahame Thorne". New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Top 100 All Blacks: Grahame Thorne on The New Zealand Herald website, dated 2014-04-23, viewed 2014-12-01
  3. ^ a b Hampton, Jeff (24 December 2009). "All Black Grahame Thorne suffers second family tragedy". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "New Zealand Woman's Weekly". Now To Love. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Features (pre 2016)". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b c Thorne in his stride on website, dated 2009-08-23, viewed 2014-12-01
  9. ^ a b c d Local government career described in Letter to the editor to Otago Daily Times, September 2010.
  10. ^ Staff, Bryan. "Interview: Grahame Thorne, MP," Metro, June 1991, pp. 130, 132-34
  11. ^ Legat, Nicola. "Good Old Boys," Metro, September 1993, p. 70-78, 80
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Fred Gerbic
Member of Parliament for Onehunga
Succeeded by
Richard Northey
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