Our People: From cricket grounds around the world to Selwyn developments

Former international left hand batsman turned teacher, John Fulton Reid, 61, now works for the district council overseeing its major capital expenditure projects. He chats with Andrew King about upcoming developments in the district, his undying love for Auckland sports teams and who he hit his only international test six against

GIVING BACK: John Reid is now overseeing projects such as the revamp of Foster Park as major projects property manager for the district council. PHOTO: Martin Hunter

Hi, John tell me about your work for the district council?

My official title is major projects property manager, which means I oversee the delivery of the big projects around the district. It is mainly buildings, community centres, parks and reserves. I have been doing it for the past three-odd years.

That would keep you busy; what are you currently working on?

Foster Park is the big one at the moment, we have been working on that for the past three years. We have put in playing fields, hockey turf, a brand new playground. Now we are about to finish the rugby and softball fields.

What’s in the pipeline?

We are working on the new West Melton Community Centre and Tai Tapu Community Centre in Rhodes Park. There are quite a few other smaller projects on the go as well.

So what got you into the council?

I didn’t have a background in this kind of things at all. I like doing jobs where I have to learn and adapt. I have been in sports management for about 30-odd years with New Zealand Cricket and Auckland Cricket, as well as Sport New Zealand. I have lived in Rolleston since I moved down in the mid-90s, and the council called me up and asked me to help out on a project a few years ago and it snowballed from there. I really like working in the community and making a meaningful contribution and adding value.

Was it your involvement with New Zealand Cricket that relocated you to the mainland?

Yes, I was there for about 10 years after I moved down here in the mid-90s. I was the cricket operations manager, reporting to the chief executive on all kinds of things from community cricket right up to the top-level stuff.
For example, I was involved in
setting up the facilities and concept programme out in Lincoln for developing cricketers.

Tell me about your time as an international cricketer. I see you didn’t travel with the side to the Caribbean in 1984, why was that?

Yes, I missed that tour, but it wasn’t the end of my playing career. I finished up in 1986. I didn’t go for a number of reasons. We had just come off a big tour
to Pakistan, and in those days it was really difficult to play and provide for the family ­­– I had a wife and two daughters by then. I needed a break to get things established again. My priorities were around providing for my family. Playing was enjoyable, but I also needed to pay the bills. So I put my education to use and started to teach at Waitakere College.

It wasn’t because guys like Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding were in the side at the time?

(Laughing) They were an awesome side at the time. It was a tough tour. But the real thinking was around how I balanced my family life and sport.

Had you played those guys before?

I was 12th man for a test at Carisbrook. It was the one where Michael Holding kicked the stumps over. (Holding was furious that New Zealand batsman, John Parker, was given not out after Holding was adamant he was caught behind.) However, I wasn’t selected for the next test, which was interesting.

What was it like to stand at the crease while Holding ran in? I heard it was one of the most intimidating sights in cricket at that time?

Any bowler bowling at that pace is intimidating. But in reality, Pakistan’s Imran Khan was one of the quickest I’ve faced in my time in international cricket. The first time I faced him was in my very first test (Auckland, February 23, 1979) – it was the quickest spell I’ve faced in my life and he was a fine all-rounder. But the key to the West Indies’ bowling attack was that there was no respite. Because there were four of them, two would bowl at you for an hour then switch. They could do that all day. ​

You have the second highest test score by a kiwi at Colombo, Sri Lanka, behinds Stephen Fleming’s glorious 274*. Tell me about that innings?

I guess people say how do you do it. My strength was around having a sound technique: defend well and accumulate. I could wear sides down. That inning was spread over three days and it was very hot. We had a doctor with us who would pour ice water over us each drinks break, which we had two of each session. I had mental strength back then, but if I was playing today it would be a lot different. I mean, if we had got out to a reverse sweep back then, that would have earned you a swift kick up the backside when you got back into the dressing room by the captain and coach, unlike the shots you see nowadays. But that is how the game has evolved.

Was it your finest, because you made six pretty good looking 100s in your 19 test career?

I think the best innings I played in test cricket, it was 70 odd at Eden Park (74) against India in the third test during the 1981 series. The pitch was turning sideways and we lost the toss and had to field.

John Bracewell turned one square and a few of us batsmen just put our heads in our hands thinking this was going to be a nightmare. John Wright and I put on a big partnership (148). I felt I had achieved something valuable. When you score when it’s easy it is okay, but when
it is difficult it is more

I see you hit one six in your international test career – can you remember who it was

I remember it vividly (laughing). It was in Pakistan during the 1984/85 season. We were playing in Hyderabad. Back in those days none of the umpires were from a neutral country, so the pair in the middle were under a bit of pressure from the locals and it was safe to say things hadn’t gone our way. John Wright played and missed at one and was given out after a half appeal from someone down at third man. He would have missed it by a foot. So I had a bit of built up anger. ​Iqbal Qasim, a left-armed spinner, came on to bowl, so I came charging down the pitch at him in a fit of rage, first ball and smashed it straight back over him for six.

Sledging has been a bit of a highlight recently. What was it like in your day?

It is fair to say there was some good-natured banter. My experience was that sledging at international level was less than at club cricket level. The international players respected each other and there was a lot of encouragement for their own players.

Who was the worst?

No one was really standout for me, but the Aussies were very good at it. They thought they were superior and you had no right to be there. Very good at attempting to intimidate. But we didn’t back down either. I remember a match where Martin Crowe was having a stare down with Craig McDermott and he [Crowe] was blowing kisses back at him to show he wasn’t that worried.

So club cricket was a bit rougher?

Well, they thought that is how international cricketers acted towards each other. I have disciplined my own players on the park in the past. I had one of my players go from between fine leg and third man for about ten overs because of what he was saying to the opposition. I told him: “You know you have to have a drink with these guys afterwards?”

What was the best you heard?

Unprintable (laughing).

When did you finish up playing international cricket?

The last tour I played was against Australia, where (Sir) Richard Hadlee took 15 wickets at the Gabba (Brisbane) and I was lucky enough to make the 100 in that game. We won the series 2-1, which I think is still the only time we have beaten them in a series over there. Then we came back to New Zealand and we won that series too when I was about 31. Then I got into teaching.

Where and what did you teach?

I taught geography, social studies, a bit of science and PE
at Waitakere College.

So you have played international cricket,
taught, and worked for a council – what’s been your favourite out of those three vocations?

I don’t know if I had a favourite. Your priorities change over time. Being a sportsman become all-consuming, and teaching was fantastic because I could be involved with cricket at the same time. At the time that was good. What I have found is that as new challenges pop up, you try your hand at new

So you are originally from Auckland?

I was born in Auckland, and I grew up in the Mount Roskill, Blockhouse Bay area. I went to Lynfield College and lived there until I was about 40.

So you are a strong Blues and Aces supporter?

I still support the Blues. My children, who have been down here a while now, lean towards red and black. But you won’t
get the blue and white out of John Reid.

Tell me about your family?

Well I married Karen almost 41 years ago and we have two daughters: Amanda Templeton, who has three children and lives in Leeston and works part-time with special needs children at Ellesmere College, and Carolyn Corbett, who has two children, lives in Rolleston and works as a teacher aide at Rolleston College. Carolyn also specialises in sports directing at the school.

In your spare time I hear you don’t mind the odd round at Weedons Country Club?

I am actually the president at the moment (laughing).

Favourite/least favourite holes?

The hole I find most
difficult is number seven, Kalahari, it is a nasty dog-leg left. Nine, Reinga, is a challenge because it is one of the longest
in Canterbury. I love the
Devil’s Elbow, 13 – there are a number of ways to play that

Finally, would you ever move back to Auckland?

I think it would have to be for a really good reason. My children and grandchildren are a great tie for me down here. I have nothing against Auckland, but I probably couldn’t afford a house (laughing).

Thanks John, great chatting with you.



19 played, 31 innings, three not out, 1296
runs, HS 180, average 46.28, six 100s, 2 50s, 133x4s, 1×6 and nine catches.


25 played, 24 innings,
one not out, 633 runs,
HS 88, average 27.52,
four 50s.

First class:

101 played, 170 innings, 22 not outs, 5650 runs, HS 180, average 38.17, 11 100s, 29 50s, 116 catches and 9 stumpings.

Test centuries:

March 6, 1981: 123* off 429 against India in Christchurch.

March 24, 1984: 180 off 445 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

November 25, 1984: 106 off 325 against Pakistan in Hyderabad.

January 18, 1985: 148 off 427 against Pakistan in Wellington.

January 25, 1985: 158* off 318 against Pakistan in Auckland.

November 8, 1985: 108 off 255 against Australia in Brisbane.