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20 September 2021
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Bob Howitt is nearing a milestone birthday but is still as sharp and lucid as ever.

Campbell Burnes catches up with a man well known to older readers and those who follow the game in Otago (pages 66-69).

People occasionally ask me: “Whatever happened to Bob Howitt?”

They must live north of the Waitaki River.

Because Bob Howitt is still very much alive and kicking, and still on the rugby beat, after 60 years, covering the Central Otago club scene for the Otago Daily Times.

For those in the dark, Howitt was the founding editor of this august publication, and in fact spent 25 years at the magazine, helping churning out rock and roll rugby fine art on a weekly basis. Rugby fans bought the mag in huge numbers, the circulation regularly over 30,000 (!) in the 1970s. I would be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me: “I always read the mag back in the day when Bob Howitt was editor.”

The tale of its sudden birth in 1970 was told by Howitt in an article for our 50th birthday issue last year. It highlighted a different time. How they pulled it together so effectively every week without email was extraordinary.

Howitt was one of the most prolific rugby writers in the country, and he had some competition from the likes of TP McLean, Ron Palenski, Lindsay Knight and Alex Veysey.

Continue this story in our September-October issue.

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