Blair Christensen is the turf manager at Eden Park, leading a team of seven preparing for Cricket World Cup matches this summer. The father of two has his family Christmas at the ground and says his children think it’s their backyard.

9.  Who is your favourite New Zealand sportsman?

It’s my father-in-law, Hedley Howarth. He played cricket for Auckland and New Zealand. I don’t know why I’m crying now but he died six years ago. He was a good cricketer but also a champion father to Tracey.

He was 64 when he died of bowel cancer. We felt ripped off. The kids were just getting to know him.

He played on Eden Park 100 times, took a lot of wickets here. One time he wasn’t happy with the outfield so the next day he brought his lawnmower in and mowed it.

10. Has his early death made you think more about your own mortality?

It should make me much more careful of my own health. But my greatest weakness is vegetables. I love growing them but I just don’t eat enough of them. [His death] was a wake-up call.


Caption: Blair Christensen is protective of his turf, which makes for some frustrating moments. Picture / Brett Phibbs