Peter Bush (b.1931, New Zealand) is a living legend in New Zealand photojournalism and a figure of world renown in his specialist field of rugby photography. Bush has had intimate access to the All Blacks on the field and off, be it in the post-match changing room or out and about whilst on tour. As a result, Bush has produced the most comprehensive and longitudinal photo documentation of the All Blacks.
Bush’s work has appeared in countless publications world-wide. He has published three books, including The Game for all New Zealand: through the lens of Peter Bush (1989).
In 1991, Bush was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public services. In 2011 Bush was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to photography.
PREVIEW: Peter Bush Discusses the images in his exhibition MANA: 60 Years of All Blacks Photography
60 Years of All Blacks Photography
September 19 – November 23, 2019
In Māori culture, mana is honor. For the All Blacks and many New Zealanders, to have mana is to have one of the highest honors bestowed upon a person.
Drawing upon the Māori concept of mana, the exhibition surveys the All Blacks, New Zealand’s male rugby union team and the most successful international sporting team of all time, maintaining a 77% win rate since their formation in 1903.
Peter Bush photographed his first rugby union test match in 1949 for the New Zealand Herald. Over the course of six decades, Bush photographed hundreds of matches both in New Zealand and overseas. No other photographer has had such privileged access to the All Blacks, matching their strides on and off the field. In the days before digital content was available to the world at large, Bush’s images were some of the first photographs seen by local fans of far off matches.
Bush’s iconic photographs include those of All Black legends: Sir Colin Meads, Ian Kirkpatrick, Graham Mourie, Jonah Lomu and Dan Carter. His work also charts historic time periods and farcical weather conditions, from Apartheid South Africa and 1970s Northern Ireland, to the highly controversial 1981 Springboks tour of New Zealand and the infamous “Mud Men” match.
Bush captures the All Blacks’ tenacity, team dynamic and sheer athleticism that has led to their unprecedented dominance on the international field. He vividly demonstrates why the All Blacks are regarded as men of mana. And as the man who has spent a career photographing them, this is a mantle Bush too deserves.
Special thanks to New Zealand Rugby (NZR).