Ernie Asher

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Ernie Asher
Personal information
Full name Te Keepa Pouwhiuwhiu
Born (1886-04-21)21 April 1886
New Zealand
Died 10 April 1973(1973-04-10) (aged 86)
New Zealand
Playing information
Weight 73 kg (11 st 7 lb)
Position Fullback, Wing, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1909–1916 City Rovers
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1908–1909 New Zealand Māori
1910–1912 Auckland
1910–1911 New Zealand 1 0 0 0 0
Source: RLP

Ernest "Ernie" Asher (21 April 1886 – 10 April 1973), also known as Te Keepa Pouwhiuwhiu, was a New Zealand rugby league player who represented New Zealand Māori and New Zealand. His brothers included John Atirau Asher and fellow international Albert Asher.

Early life[edit]

Asher was born in Tauranga in 1886, the seventh of eleven children. His mother was Katerina Te Atirau, a woman from the Te Arawa iwi, descended from Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Pūkenga iwi. His maternal grandmother was Rahera Te Kahuhiapo. His father was David Asher, a hotel keeper. His paternal grandfather was Asher Asher, who was a prominent Jewish trader during Auckland's early days.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Asher had originally played rugby union for Tauranga and Ponsonby before being convinced by his brother to take up the new Northern union code.[2][3]

Asher was part of the 1908 New Zealand Māori rugby league tour of Australia which was organised by his brother Albert. He again toured Australia in 1909 with New Zealand Māori. He was involved in the formation of the City Rovers club in the new Auckland Rugby League competition in 1909.[4]

In 1910 Asher was selected to represent New Zealand against the touring Great Britain Lions. This was his only test match for New Zealand, although he also played for the side in 1911 during the tour of Australia.[5]

During the 1910 season, Asher was part of the Auckland side that toured the country.[4]

Asher played for Auckland in 1912 but was not selected for the New Zealand side.[4] He last played for the City Rovers in 1916[3]

Administration career[edit]

In 1927 Asher served as an Auckland selector before beginning a long career as an administrator. Between 1932 and 1968 Asher served on the New Zealand Rugby League board and he also served as secretary of the New Zealand Māori Rugby League.[3]

In 1969 the New Zealand Rugby League held a special match to celebrate its diamond jubilee. Asher was present at the match and carried out the ceremonial kick-off.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Asher worked as a hairdresser and was also a noted weightlifter, serving on the Auckland Weighlifting Association's committee. Asher's only son, George, was killed during World War II. Asher died on 10 April 1973.[3]


  1. ^ McConnell, Robin C. "Asher, Albert and Asher, Ernest Te Kepa". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Bruce Montgomerie Those Who Played, Montgomerie Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0646434071. p.20.
  3. ^ a b c d John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908–2008. Huia Publishers. p. 33. ISBN 9781869693312. 
  4. ^ a b c d Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909–2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4.
  5. ^ ASHER, Ernest Te Keepa – 1910 – 11