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Ruia Morrison
Ruia Morrison

ĀteaApril 9, 2019

Scratched: Ruia Morrison, the Māori tennis star who made it to Wimbledon

Ruia Morrison
Ruia Morrison

Introducing Scratched, an original web series that finds and celebrates the lost sporting legends of Aotearoa.

Watch this episode on TVNZ On Demand.

There are many sportspeople whose names are uttered regularly by New Zealanders, and whose stories have been told over and over again. But what about the athletes whose lives and careers have faded from the national memory? New Zealand has produced more athletic legends than we realise and for some, acknowledgement of their achievements is long overdue.

From tennis champions to dance craze inventors, Scratched celebrates New Zealand sporting heroes who never got their due – but whose legacies deserve to be in lights.

Meet Ruia Morrison, the first New Zealand woman and first Māori tennis player to compete at Wimbledon. Raised on the courts of Te Koutu in the 1940s, Morrison quickly dominated inter-marae tournaments around Rotorua before being sent to Auckland as a teenager to compete in the premiere club competition.

By age 20, she was a national singles champion and, thanks to the support of the wider Māori community, on a plane to Wimbledon for the 1957 grand slam tournament. But despite being considered one of the best in the world at the time, and a successful career spanning two decades, Morrison has remained largely unknown in her home country. Still living in Rotorua and a matriarch of Māori tennis, Ruia Morrison is well and truly a lost sporting legend of Aotearoa.

Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends is made with the support of NZ On Air.


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