NZ Rugby Museum director Stephen Berg holds Ned Barry’s All Black jersey from almost a century ago. Watching on are, from left, Liam Barry, his mother Justine and his son Isaiah.
All Blacks jerseys from three generations of one family had been stashed away in a wardrobe for years.
But now the mementos from the Barry family are proudly on display at the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.
Ned Barry, son Kevin and grandson Liam, all loose forwards, played for the All Blacks, the only three-generation combination to do so, and the family has gifted jerseys from all three to the museum.
The jerseys, all made by Canterbury, are long sleeved and show the change in design over the years, from the laced collar in the 1930s to the simple black jersey with white collar of the 1990s.
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Ned, who died in 1993, played 10 matches, including one test, for the All Blacks in the 1930s; and Kevin, who died in 2014, played 23 matches in the 1960s. Liam played 10 matches, with one test, in the 1990s.
Liam, his mother Justine and his two sons Nat, 16, and Isaiah, 13, were on hand for the presentation on Thursday.
“We made a call to our extended family and they all thought it was brilliant [to present the jerseys],” Liam said.
Liam was happy to hand the jerseys over to the museum as a keepsake for New Zealand rugby history.
Justine was proud they were the only family to have three generations represent the All Blacks.
“To get three probably wouldn’t happen now.”
The family has a collection of old jerseys, including some swapped with international players.
“My first memory of Dad playing rugby was he would wear the jerseys doing the garden. He would go out in an England jersey to do the garden.”
Liam, an assistant coach to the NZ men’s sevens team who lives in Tauranga, said when he was young the family legacy wasn’t often mentioned, but his sons were aware.
“I didn’t know until I was a lot older. I didn’t know the significance of him being an All Black.”
The two boys play rugby and are frequently asked about it.
Isaiah said he loved rugby and his father had told them he just wanted them to enjoy the game.
Liam gave the jerseys to museum director Stephen Berg, who examined them and put them on mannequins for display.
Ned’s jersey is nearly 100 years old and is one of the old lace-style ones. Liam had thought the bottom of the jersey had been cut off.
“My lovely grandmother cut that off for one of her kids’ fancy dress events at school. So a quarter of it is missing. I suppose that’s what you did with your All Black jersey.”
But after examination by Berg, he discovered the jersey had been hemmed and the bottom sewn into the inside. Berg was going to repair the work.