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Big crowd . . About 260 people packed into the Ascot Park Hotel, in Invercargill on Wednesday, to listen to Sir Graham Henry give A Talk with Ted to raise money for the Graeme Dingle Foundation. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham “Ted” Henry shared his wisdom and humour through A Talk with Ted event to raise money for the Southland branch of the Graeme Dingle Foundation on Wednesday.

The event, held at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill, was attended by about 260 people, who listened with rapt attention to life stories from Sir Graham.

The night finished with an auction, which raised $3100.

Among the items was a personally-signed All Black jersey from Sir Graham, which sold for $500, and a House of Travel package to Wellington went for $950.

The foundation is a child and youth charity which runs several successful programmes for child and youth development for ages five to 18 and Southland chairman Michael Lee said the money raised by the Ted Talk would go towards children throughout Southland.

“We teach children in Bluff, Invercargill, Eastern Southland and all over. We want to create and encourage children to be better Southland citizens,” Mr Lee said.

He was “blown over” by the support the foundation received.

“I’m really impressed with the support we receive from businesses across Southland. We really appreciate it and I’m very proud.”

Sir Graham was a school teacher for about 25 years and said it was an honour to be asked to talk at the Invercargill event.

“I’ve always been very passionate about children but I’m concerned about them and Graeme Dingle Foundation is one of the charities that is really supporting them. It’s a pleasure to be here,” he said.

In his Talk With Ted , Sir Graham discussed the 2007 Rugby World Cup loss, who should be the next All Blacks coach, All Black first-five eighth Stephen Donald’s 2011 Rugby World Cup winning conversion and changing the mindset of the All Blacks’ team environment.

driven environment to a team-driven environment. We needed to move away from the hard man ‘be a man’ mentality and take ownership.”

He spoke about the leadership group from the 2011 Rugby World Cup team which helped develop the younger players.

“Brad Thorn was a big mentor and Owen Franks became a very efficient All Black in a short amount of time through being mentored by Brad.’

Sir Graham is assistant coach of the Auckland rugby team and was in Invercargill for the Mitre 10 Cup match against the Southland Stags which Auckland won 56-8.

It was the only fundraiser Sir Graham was speaking at throughout the country and Mr Lee said it meant a lot to the foundation.

“The fact he gave up time out of his day to come and talk with us is just amazing.”

The foundation helped about 1300 children throughout Southland in low decile schools, Mr Lee said.

“We run several different programmes to encourage respect, working on values and encouraging children to become better citizens.”

The foundation’s Kiwi Can programme is used in Mataura Primary School and Longford Intermediate in Eastern Southland.