Albert Arapeta ASHER
- Born: 3 Dec 1879, Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand
- Marriage (1): May Caroline BRIGGS on 19 Nov 1901 in Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
- Marriage (2): Helen ROBSON in 1905
- Died: 8 Jun 1965, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand at age 85
Albert Asher is reputed to have been a rugby sub-union representative in his early teens. In 1897 the Parnell Football Club enticed him to live and play in Auckland, and assured him of employment. The following year he played the first of his 21 games for Auckland. In 1902 he was a member of the first Auckland rugby team to hold the Ranfurly Shield. He played for the New Zealand team that toured Australia in 1903, scoring 17 tries; for 54 years this remained a record for any New Zealander playing in Australia. On that tour he became known as 'The India Rubber Man', because of his athleticism in bouncing up from tackles. His more famous nickname, 'Opai', derived from the champion steeplechaser, was bestowed on him for his action in hurdling opposing players. In 1904 he injured his leg badly while working as a fireman and was unable to play top rugby regularly for two seasons. Although a likely candidate, he was also prevented from touring England with the original All Blacks in 1905. On 19 November 1901 at Auckland Albert had married May Caroline Briggs; they were to have at least six children.
Albert worked as a fireman from around 1902 and at various times was employed as a farmer, gas stoker, railwayman, labourer, clerk and boilermaker. For 20 years he kept in touch with rugby league followers in his capacity as groundsman at Carlaw Park. In his 80s he was still in demand for autographs. He died in Auckland on 8 January 1965 survived by three daughters and two sons; his wife had predeceased him.
Extracted from Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Albert married May Caroline BRIGGS, daughter of David Dickson BRIGGS and Anne Eliza READE, on 19 Nov 1901 in Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. (May Caroline BRIGGS was born on 7 Aug 1885 in Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand and died on 13 Oct 1935 in Taumaranui, Central Plateau, New Zealand.)
Albert next married Helen ROBSON in 1905.