NZ Rugby World - - The After LIfe -

Af­ter he de­buted in 1995, Glen Os­borne fea­tured at full­back for the World Cup but spent most of the rest of his ca­reer un­til 1999 on the wing. He played 19 tests and ran in 11 test tries. He played for the Chiefs and Hur­ri­canes in Su­per Rugby and rep­re­sented Wan­ganui and North Har­bour. He also fea­tured in the New Zealand Sevens team and played a sea­son and a half in France with Biar­ritz club and four sea­sons in Ja­pan with Ri­coh.

Af­ter leav­ing the All Blacks I played in France, for North Har­bour then four years in Ja­pan, which was one of the most ex­cit­ing things I’ve ever done. It was beau­ti­ful. The peo­ple are kind and re­spect­ful, they have the most beau­ti­ful wairua and are such gen­uine peo­ple. You deal with Ja­pa­nese peo­ple here, but they are com­pletely dif­fer­ent in their own en­vi­ron­ment.

I was play­ing for Ri­coh, based just out of Se­ta­gaya in Tokyo, and we had Eroni Clarke, Paul Feeney was our coach, and there was Bran­don Jackson, Norm Maxwell and a few Aussies. I’ve still got the club record for points in a year.

My wife Kylee and I put the girls straight into Ja­pa­nese school be­cause by the time we got there my el­dest, Ari­anna, was at pri­mary school, my youngest Mako was three and they picked up the lan­guage in a few months. They be­came flu­ent very quickly and could tell jokes in Ja­pa­nese; that’s how good they were.

I picked up Ja­pa­nese bet­ter than French be­cause the pro­nun­ci­a­tion is sim­i­lar to Maori, and be­cause I loved it I made more ef­fort to learn it, go­ing to night school for lessons.

In 2004 I told the club I would give them one more year be­cause my body was too tired. They said okay, okay.

I just wanted to re­tire and they of­fered me an­other con­tract to stay. I was sore and didn’t have the heart to do it any more. They of­fered me more money, but I wanted to go home. They didn’t un­der­stand, so I told them to send some guys over to see me in New Zealand then they’d un­der­stand why I wanted to be back here.

When we fi­nally left, they all came out to the air­port with their chil­dren and were all cry­ing and singing; it was very emo­tional.

I flew in on a Wed­nes­day and on Thurs­day I was work­ing at Maori TV on

Code. A good friend of mine, Bai­ley Mackey, helped me out a lot and it was hard work be­ing a pre­sen­ter and do­ing that front work but Jenny-May Clark­son, who worked with me, is my best mate in tele­vi­sion. She was fan­tas­tic. When­ever I got in strife she’d say, ‘Don’t worry, Oz, no one’s go­ing to die,’ and she was my rock dur­ing my TV ca­reer. I did Code for a cou­ple of years, then The 3rd Half with Wil­lie Lose and Buck Shelford be­fore I had my own show, Bring Your Boots, Oz, and I took over Hunt­ing Aotearoa in my last year.

In 2011 I fronted the Rugby World Cup for the hour be­fore a game and with a panel after­wards, and then I spent the best part of a decade at Maori TV when we were liv­ing at Omaha, north of Auck­land.

At the same time, I bought a butch­ery in Matakana and that was try­ing to kill two birds with one stone. I had my hunt­ing goals and knew if I bought the butch­ery I would have all the dog tucker I needed and with all the pigs I caught, I could do my own salami and pork at home, plus get ex­pe­ri­ence in an­other side of the busi­ness.

I will say hav­ing the butch­ery was re­ally, re­ally hard sim­ply be­cause I was not a qual­i­fied butcher. While I knew how to cut up most meat, that wasn’t be­ing a butcher. One of my best mates up there, Matthew Old­field, was my home-kill man, so he worked for me and showed me how to do it.

We had a home-kill busi­ness and that meat had to be la­belled and kept sep­a­rate from the shop stuff, which was meat we had to buy in. Our mar­ket was all lo­cal and we were re­ally busy around the Rod­ney dis­trict.

Even­tu­ally, I was work­ing three days a week at Maori TV and I said I couldn’t work ev­ery day. It was long hours work­ing out how to make a busi­ness run, and I came to the con­clu­sion that I wanted to go home.

I got re­ally home­sick. It’s hard to ex­plain. I’ve al­ways wanted to go home, but at the end of 2012 it got to a point where I wasn’t happy. I looked at the big­ger pic­ture and one day I said to my wife, ‘Babe, I just want to go home. I don’t want to be in this life­style any more. I don’t like it.’

We sold the house, sold the busi­ness, every­thing.

My wife is from Taranaki and sug­gested we go there, but I said she’d cho­sen to go to France first then Ja­pan and this was my call. I said if I moved I was go­ing home to Whanganui.

A few week­ends later we went home for a trip and looked at some places to buy. We saw about five or six, but there was one we fell in love with straight away and I told the real es­tate agent that we would make an of­fer.

My older brother Charles, who is a builder and played for Wan­ganui, started work on the new 300-square-me­tre house and I helped him be­tween shows. Kylee liked the house and it took a bit more per­sua­sion to get her to be­lieve it was all go­ing to turn out well. It’s on the edge of town in West­mere, so it’s not far to get to work or to other places around the dis­trict.

I was born in Nga­mat­apouri about an hour in­land, as you go to­wards Waver­ley and Waito­tora and then turn in­land and go way up there. All my life I was out in the sticks and loved it.

It’s the free­dom, never hav­ing neigh­bours and be­ing happy in my own com­pany. I met Kylee when I came to play in Auck­land and met her at the rugby club


when she was up on work ex­pe­ri­ence from Taranaki. She was at TVNZ work­ing on

Mai Time as one of the first pre­sen­ters be­fore work­ing as a re­porter.

Once the house was ready, we moved down. My el­dest daugh­ter Ari­anna had fin­ished at Mahu­rangi Col­lege and went to Toi Whakaari in Welling­ton to learn di­rect­ing and act­ing, and we sent our younger daugh­ter Mako to Wan­ganui Col­le­giate, which is a won­der­ful school. She’s now study­ing busi­ness and com­merce in Welling­ton; she’s got her mother’s abil­i­ties and Kylee pushed the girls.

Mov­ing gave me an­other chance to have a go at get­ting into the po­lice force. I wanted to try when I was 23, but we were play­ing pro­fes­sional rugby then and weren’t al­lowed to work any­where else.

I was think­ing I was too old and had maybe missed my chance at do­ing some­thing I’d al­ways wanted to do. The core val­ues of the po­lice are very sim­i­lar to what you need in rugby. There is a strong cor­re­la­tion of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, team­work, em­pa­thy, re­spect and time man­age­ment. I came from an All Blacks side that had those high­est stan­dards in the world then went into TV where, again, you have to have high stan­dards oth­er­wise you just don’t last.

Trans­fer­ring those dis­ci­plines made sense and all my life I was taught about hard work by my dad. I was a cheeky kid, but I was dis­ci­plined, and I worked hard for my dad, milk­ing and shear­ing, so that work ethic was there for me.

All my life I have wanted to be a role model so my nieces and neph­ews can see there is more to life. I wanted to stand out and I knew that be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer you had that chance, not be­cause of the blue uni­form but as some­one who up­holds val­ues and is pro­fes­sional. It’s a won­der­ful ca­reer, and the val­ues are as high as I be­lieve All Blacks’ val­ues are.

There was no age limit and when I went in I was the old­est by far in my group, but I eas­ily passed the fit­ness test­ing. Then I ap­plied for in­ter­views about 2015 and the fit­ness tri­als were the eas­i­est thing of the lot for me. Next step was the hard­est — the psy­cho­me­t­ric tests with ab­stract, nu­mer­i­cal and writ­ten ex­ams. I hadn’t stud­ied for 30 years and you have to pass that be­fore you can go to po­lice col­lege. I spent months study­ing hard be­cause I knew if you didn’t pass you had to wait six months or more for an­other shot.

I wanted to get it right the first time. Three weeks af­ter the exam I was driv­ing my car and got a phone call say­ing I had passed and I was so ex­cited, I swore; ‘ You’re f***ing kid­ding me!’ and the lady said, ‘No, Mr Os­borne.’ I had passed but needed to up­skill some pa­pers be­cause get­ting into Porirua Po­lice Col­lege was ap­par­ently much harder.

I waited six months to go there and then it was four months of in­tense study. The phys­i­cal stuff was easy, but the men­tal strain and ten­sion were tough.

I tried to do my train­ing at po­lice col­lege with­out any fan­fare, but as soon as they found out at Maori TV that I was there they wanted to do a doc­u­men­tary. I saw the po­lice in­spec­tor and he said I didn’t need any dis­trac­tions — and he was so right. I didn’t want to fail, so the pres­sure was on.

The stress was so great I spoke to my sergeant about strug­gling through my first mock ex­ams when I got about 30 per cent and you needed about 70 per cent to pass. He said, ‘Look, you’ve made the All Blacks, you been on TV and have worked hard. So this is what I want you to do...’

I had about 100 cue cards and he said that’s too much in­for­ma­tion; bul­let points are the go. I cut them down to about 25 points and that made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence. I got about 74 per cent, I think, then 82 per cent in my tests, but all the way through there were ex­ams to push us.

EASY RIDER Glen Os­borne was de­cep­tively quick and di cult to put down.

TV TIME Os­borne moved into TV af­ter he stopped play­ing be­fore de­cid­ing to join the Po­lice.

LOVE OF THE GAME Os­borne just loved play­ing rugby.

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