Jim Wynyard was born on August 17,1914 and was educated at Kihikihi Primary School, Te Awamutu District High School and New Plymouth Boys High. He then attended Ruakura Farm School. Whilst at Ruakura his speed and lineout work in rugby came to the attention of the Waikato rugby selectors and he made his debut for Waikato in 1934. In 1935 he was selected for the All Blacks team to tour Britain playing in eight matches. In 1938 he won selection for both Waikato and the All Blacks. Observers of the day had high praise for his ability stating, "the bigger the occasion, the better he played".
In WWII he distinguished himself in the battle for Crete. In the face of enemy fire he several times went back to rescue wounded men. Another local man said, "if only there’d been another officer present to verify that bravery, Jim would have won the V.C."
Sadly in 1942 two shells exploded beside the tank he was travelling in killing both Wynyard and his driver. It has been said if he had returned home, he may well have been one of the greatest All Blacks of the post war years.
Jim Wynyard was inducted into the Te Awamutu Walk of fame in 2006.
Pictured: Real soldier and All Black Jim Wynyard pictured ‘playing’ soldiers for the filming of ‘Rewi’s Last Stand’. Photo courtesy of Te Awamutu Museum.