A Rower From Tai Tapu!

As a postscript to the entry about the Felton-Barry race in 1919, on 4 March, Bernard Hempseed writes:

When Barry beat Felton in the return match in Sydney it was a chance for Dick Arnst (seen on the left). Arnst had issue a newspaper challenge to the winner of the match (a possibly unusual way of going about it). Barry returned to the UK and ignored Dick so Arnst claimed the World Championship by default after the usual three months had passed. Arnst had been an earlier world champion so it was not exactly out of the blue but a few of the Sydnesiders did not agree with it. Anyway, Dick held on to the championship for another challenge before losing to fellow New Zealander Darcy Hadfield who had won bronze at the 1920 Olympic Games. Arnst was born not far from where I live and he was the first rower I wrote a book about as no-one had done it before. [Book title: Richard Arnst: The Single Sculls World Champion From New Zealand (2005)]

Richard (Dick) Arnst was born in a town near Christchurch called Tai Tapu on the 28th of November 1883. His birth name was Jacob Diedrich Arnst. It seems that the children selected another name to be known as when they grew up. Also, as Arnst was a German name they may have wanted to Anglicize it. However, Dick’s brother, Jack, was in the NZ Army and was killed in France in WWI. Dick was a champion cyclist (as was Jack) before he took up sculling. See Wiki for more information.

As for me, I was born in Christchurch and have lived all my live here. Boringly conventional!

Warm thanks to Bernard for this story. It is good to hear that Bernard is as cheerful as ever, despite the disaster that struck his hometown some weeks ago. Keep up the good spirit!

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