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Off the Pitch with Gregor Paul | John Ashworth | Tony Johnson

Thursday 8th of September, 7pm
CHB Municipal Theatre

Brought to you by Paper Plus Waipukurau


We kick-off the festival with an evening of classic rugby banter. Steve Hansen’s biographer and NZ Herald sports writer, Gregor Paul, joins the line-out with our local ex All Black John Ashworth and renowned sports commentator Tony Johnson. 

We are delighted to have this talented team open our 2022 Readers and Writers Festival and do hope you can join us.

Gregor Paul has been the Herald's lead rugby writer since 2004 and has followed the All Blacks across the world in the last 18 years. Born and raised in Scotland, he worked as a financial correspondent for two major papers in the UK before marrying his Kiwi wife and settling here. He has written eight books and is a regular contributor to foreign publications such as The Irish Times and Midi Olympique. He lives in Auckland with his wife and three children and remains a loyal supporter of Aberdeen Football Club.

John Ashworth, having played 52 matches for the All Blacks, enjoyed many epic victories  as well as the bitter taste of heart-breaking defeat. John was introduced to Pinot Noir while on tour in the South of France - it is a taste which has helped define his wine palate and led to him establishing Junction Wines  in Takapau with his family after he hung up his playing boots. The rugby links are also strong with the names of some of Junction Wines' vintages including Front Row, Corner Post, Possession and Off Side.


Tony Johnson is a Sky Sport commentator. He grew up in the Marlborough Sounds and has worked in radio and at TV3. He joined Sky in 1999 where much of his work revolves around rugby. Johnson has been to every Rugby World Cup, excluding the 1999 and 2019 tournament, as a fan, reporter or broadcaster, and has covered the Commonwealth Games in his capacity as a radio and television reporter. Tony lives in Auckland with his wife and daughter.

Organisers of the Festival would like to thank Paper Plus Waipukurau and the Waipawa Municipal Theatre for generously supporting this event.

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