What it takes to wear black


(10 customer reviews)

What it takes to wear black might just be the greatest New Zealand rugby story ever told and is guaranteed to inspire every rugby-mad kiwi kid.

It tells the story of Henry Butland who was selected to play rugby for New Zealand in 1893. It was the very first tour to be organised by the New Zealand Rugby Union and legend has it that Henry had to traverse the Southern Alps on foot to catch the ship to Australia to play.

The book reimagines his feat and illustrates the dedication and commitment required to represent one’s country at the highest level.

Much more than just an exciting adventure story, this book is packed with information about life in New Zealand in 1893, as well as loads of early rugby history. It even includes a foreword from Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry.

It’s sure to capture your child’s imagination as it transports them back into New Zealand’s colourful past.

Suitable for children 5 to 9 years of age.

10 reviews for What it takes to wear black

  1. Peta (verified owner)

    Love this book!
    I have gifted one to our school library and we have NZ family who live overseas and are coming back for Christmas. We are looking forward to gifting them this great book. Can’t wait to see their reaction.

  2. Marian (verified owner)

    Beautifully written and illustrated book. Bought it for my grandson and I know he will love it… brought a tear to my eye reading it. Loved the info at the end too.

  3. Philippa Thompson (verified owner)

    My 9 year old grandson loved getting this book in the mail. We have enjoyed watching him play rugby on Saturday mornings and thought he would enjoy and learn from this story. I have recently purchased another copy for our nephew in the UK.

  4. Lisa Barbour (verified owner)

    What a fantastic, beautifully written book of a great man. Thank you.

  5. Phelps

    Great little book, fantastic story with precious information. Treasure to have.

  6. Mahala Ogle (verified owner)

    What a fantastic story about such important things in life, working hard to achieve your dream, never giving up and incredible resilience. The book had something for everyone.

  7. Graeme Bisseker (verified owner)

    I have two grandsons playing ripper rugby. Both really enjoyed the story and have asked for it to be read a number of times. The story is great, it’s real, hmmmm perhaps not the sprigs on the ice bit, but it has great life lessons about sticking to your dreams, perseverance, aspiration, teamwork, and community spirit. Great story and artwork. I really loved the concept the book represents around telling stories from back in the day.

  8. Sam (verified owner)

    This is a great book. It just shows children what it takes to represent Aotearoa!

  9. J Cook (verified owner)

    A ‘Why didn’t we know about this before now?’ moment, with wide appeal.

  10. Ian Fergusson (verified owner)

    What a great book! So pleased to be able to buy this piece of history. Thank you very much, just love it.

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What it takes to wear black has been designed to captivate, inspire, and educate children between 5 and 9 years of age.

But it’s got something for everyone and I guarantee you’ll be reading it yourself long after the kids have gone to sleep.


250mm X 240mm


Toby Butland



SKU: 001 Category: