Biography

Peter Bush or “Bushy” is as much a part of rugby in New Zealand as any of the players that he has photographed. He has been capturing the All Blacks since his first assignment as news photographer for the New Zealand Herald in 1949. In the early 1960s, covering rugby became his ruling passion, one that sees him still covering the sport long past retirement age.

His ability to seemingly place himself into the heart of the game has resulted in a wonderful photographic record of the great non-professional era of All Black rugby, fixing in time great iconic moments of the giants of the age: the likes of Meads, Whineray, Clarke, Mourie, Tremain, Going, Kirkpatrick. Bushy became as recognizable to rugby fans as the players themselves, racing up and down the sideline in rugby boots to keep up with the action and to get the great shots.

The dawn of the professional era has brought great changes to the game, but this has only made Peter’s pictures all the more valuable, not just for the record of players and games, but also as a social history of the more carefree New Zealand they recall, crowds of men in hats standing on the terraces, pole sitting spectators, jubilant crowds right on the sideline and the hard, cold light on winter afternoons.

But there are layers of history and social comment embedded in Peter’s work. His photographs capture the All Blacks in apartheid South Africa, in Belfast during the ‘Troubles’ of the early 1970s, and during the Springbok tour in 1981.

Rugby may be what he is known for but Bushy has also captured many other historical moments in New Zealand and the world’s history. His ability to not intrude but simply observe through the lens has created hundreds of eye-catching images.

“He has photographed Prime Ministers and protesters as well as prop forwards, travelled with the Pope (John Paul II) and taken shots as diverse as marooned, dying ships and golden sunsets. His genius has been the mix of aesthetic beauty, poignancy and sheer unorthodoxy in his work. A Peter Bush photograph is never less than captivating.” New Zealand Herald 11/01/12.