All Black great’s family fight (NZ)

Rugby commentator and All Black great Murray Mexted is embroiled in a family legal spat with his uncle over income from his late mother’s trust.

The legal rift between one of New Zealand rugby’s biggest names and his mother’s brother, John Leon Taylor, came to light at the Auckland High Court yesterday.

The case was adjourned after an in-chambers discussion between lawyers, but the Herald has learned details of the dispute.

Mr Mexted and his three siblings have brought legal action against Mr Taylor over income from a commercial property jointly owned by Mr Taylor’s trust and their late mother Beverley’s trust.

It is understood her trust – called the Beverley Mexted Property Trust – was set up by Mr Taylor.

The trust has a 25 per cent stake in commercial property on Auckland’s North Shore. The other 75 per cent is held by a trust controlled by Mr Taylor.

Mrs Mexted left her trust to her four children – including her 34-test veteran son – when she died.

The income from the shops is split, 75 per cent going to Mr Taylor’s trust and 25 per cent going to the beneficiaries of the Beverley Mexted trust.

The Herald understands Mexted and his siblings are claiming their trust has not received proper income from the commercial property. It is not known how much money is involved.

It is understood that Mr Taylor rejects this claim.

At the High Court in Auckland yesterday, Associate Judge Roger Bell asked media to leave the courtroom while the discussions took place.

Neither Mexted nor his uncle were in court, and lawyers for both sides declined to comment outside.

Mexted was last night coaching young players in South Africa at the International Rugby Academy, where he is managing director.

Speaking from Rustenberg, west of Pretoria, he said he did not know much about the trust.

“I didn’t leave the rugby field to talk to you about family trust issues.”

Last night, trust beneficiaries Alan Mexted, Sherry Smith, and Marilyn Mexted all declined to comment.

Mexted’s father, Graham, was also an All Black number eight and ran Mexted Motors, where Mexted’s brother Alan is now the principal dealer.

The Wellington business has been operating for more than 80 years.

Mexted will be part of Sky Sport’s commentary team during this year’s Rugby World Cup.

He was suspended from Sky in 2009 after criticising the New Zealand Rugby Union for its decision to reduce the number of teams in the Air NZ Cup competition from 14 teams to 10.

He said at the time: “I felt deeply about the game being fostered the width and breadth of the country.

“I thought culling the top competition from 14 teams to 10 would be a tragedy.”

Mexted has also been in the news for trying to build a six-lot subdivision on a property near Mahanga Beach, north of the Mahia Peninsula, with friends Paul Williams and Servaas Van Breda Malherbe.

Independent commissioners for the Wairoa District Council and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council have granted consents for the development.

But an appeal by local environmental group Mahanga E Tu has been lodged with the Environment Court.


Age: 57

* 72 All Black matches, including 34 tests, between 1979 and 1985

* Captained All Blacks seven times and scored 21 tries

* Married beauty queen Lorraine Downes in 1986. The couple separated in 1999.

* Mexted’s father Graham, who died in 2009, was a one-test All Black

* Mexted has been a high-profile Sky TV commentator, producing gems such as: “I’ve always fantasised about lineouts, even in my sleep sometimes”.


All Black great’s family fight
Edward Gay
June 8, 2011
The New Zealand Herald