Blair remained behind at the hotel to grieve. It was announced that he had withdrawn from the match, and flags at the ground were lowered to half-mast.
But Blair appeared out of the players’ tunnel after New Zealand lost their ninth wicket for 154 in the first innings, which left the players and the crowd at Ellis Park stunned. Along with Bert Sutcliffe, he put up a 33-run stand to drag New Zealand to 187. It remains one of the most defining moments in New Zealand sporting history.
“The background to this Test match is one of the most sad and moving and heart-breaking stories imaginable,” NZC chief executive Scott Weenink said. “It’s also an uplifting story of incredible courage and resilience, and in terms of the South African team and public, great compassion and empathy. I’m delighted to see this very important part of cricket history properly recognised and acknowledged.”
The Shield was created by carver David Ngawati (Ngati Hine), is made from the native New Zealand timber puriri, and includes an inlaid mere made from pounamu, a type of stone sourced from the Tangiwai region. An NZC release said that the shield will be blessed and presented to the teams in Tauranga today.
CSA chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said, “On behalf of CSA, I send my best wishes to everyone who was touched by this tragedy, and to both teams contesting the inaugural trophy. It’s important that the teams of today and tomorrow know where they came from, and I’m sure the Tangiwai Shield will do much to assist with that.”