Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 15 September 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Any discussion about the achievements of Māori footballers at Kiwitea Street logically focuses on one of the greatest players to ever grace the famous Central United FC colours - Wynton Alan Whai Rufer.
Rufer won 23 full international caps for New Zealand and was a key figure at the FIFA World Cup in Spain in 1982 as the John Adshead-coached side took on the might of Brazil, the Soviet Union and Scotland.
Wynton's father Arthur Rufer arrived in New Zealand from Switzerland in 1957 and married Anne Hine Campbell, they had three children; Shane, Donna and Wynton Alan Whai, and they were raised in Wellington, attending Strathmore Park Primary, Evans Bay Intermediate, Rongotai College and Donna went to Wellington East Girls’ College.
Wynton’s football career began like most growing up in New Zealand, Mum and Dad carting their children on Saturday mornings to school and club grounds, starting at Wellington Diamond United, Rongotai College, Miramar Rangers, Norwich City in England and then FC Zurich in Switzerland with brother Shane where their outstanding careers are renowned, but not to be outdone was sister Donna, an excellent squash player.
After a distinguished football career in Switzerland, Germany and Japan, Wynton came home to New Zealand in 1997 with his Australian wife Lisa and children Caleb and Joshua and set up a soccer academy with his brother Shane - WYNRS New Zealand - promoting and serving youth football throughout the country.
NEWS - MĀORI LANGUAGE WEEK - Kiwitea Street Origin Stories— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) September 12, 2021
We celebrate Māori Language Week as we look back at Māori footballers who played for Auckland City FC and @CentralUtd_FC from 1962 to 2021.
As a player in Europe, Wynton won league and cup winners medals in Germany and Switzerland, and a UEFA Cup Winners Cup winner with Werder Bremen in 1991, in which he scored the winning goal against AS Monaco.
Wynton, of Ngati Porou descent, returned to New Zealand and then played for Central United FC and helped guide the team to its first ever Chatham Cup victory in 1997.
Goals by Keith Oliver and Martin Akers gave Napier City Rovers a handy 2-0 lead but two goals in the space of a minute by Paul Urlovic and then Rufer tied the game up at 2-2 with 15 minutes left to play.
Urlovic popped up with the winner just after the start of the second period of extra time as United lifted the trophy.
Ian Uhlmann who was there that day reflected on a magical day.
"We had a young side with Matthew Vuksich, Ivan Vicelich, Mathew Urlovic and Greg Uhlmann.
"We also had a core of experience with Billy Harris, Terry Torrens and Jeff Keskic but we also had a football legend named Wynton Rufer.
"Wynton accepted a third cup winners' medal in three countries," Uhlmann recalls.
Rufer, who had an outstanding game, downplayed the achievement.
"I don't play for records, he said, "I'm out for the enjoyment of the game."
Uhlmann picks up the story - "I cried my eyes out when we climbed up those stairs and Terry Torrens lifted the Chatham Cup high and our period of success in the competition began.
"Many of our supporters said it was a dream come true because to come back from 2-0 down was unbelievable."
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week 2021
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week has been celebrated in New Zealand since 1975. It acknowledges and celebrates the Māori language as a unique cultural treasure for all New Zealanders.
Māori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins confirmed the dates for this year’s Māori Language Week would be from the 13th to the 19th September 2021.
Te reo Māori has its origins in East Polynesia. The language is closely related to Tahitian and Cook Islands Māori and to a lesser degree to Hawaiian and Marquesan. In recent years, the use of te reo Māori has become more prevalent and people are working hard to ensure the language is rejuvenated and preserved for future generations.
Each year The Māori Language Commission sets a theme for the week, and a range of activities, promotions, and events encouraging the use of te reo Māori take place around the country. This page highlights te reo Māori resources and links to library events celebrating Māori Language Week.
For more information about Māori Language Week, please visit here.
If you were a former player of either Auckland City FC or Central United FC and wish to make known your iwi affiliation or cultural heritage please contact the club here.
September 27, 1997
Chatham Cup Final
Bluewater Stadium, Napier
Napier City Rovers 2 (Martin AKERS 41', Keith OLIVER 52')
Central United FC 3 (Paul URLOVIC 75' 106', Wynton RUFER 76')
CU: 1. Peter EVANS (GK), 2. Ivan VICELICH, 3. Terry TORRENS (12. Matthew VUKSICH 98'), 4. Greg UHLMANN, 5. Matt FOWLER, 6. Scott FARRINGTON, 7. Bruce HILL, 8. Jeff KEKSIC, 9. Mike LOFTUS (13. Paul URLOVIC 58'), 10. Wynton RUFER, 11. Billy HARRIS (Mathew URLOVIC 70').
COACH: Billy HARRIS.
MANAGER: Ian UHLMANN.
CAUTIONS: Ivan VICELICH, Jeff KEKSIC.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Ivan VICELICH.