One of the outstanding Maori athletes of the 1930’s was John (Jack) Hoani MacDonald (Rangitane). A member of the Wairau and Picton Rowing Clubs, he achieved a gold medal as a member of the rowing coxed four and silver medal as a member of the rowing eight at the 1930 Ontario Empire Games. He went on to be the New Zealand Flag bearer and a member of the rowing eight which finished fourth at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
John was a Maori All Black in 1926, 31, 34, 35, and a Marlborough, Manawhenua and South Island rugby representative. He played professional rugby league in England in 1936, 37, 38, and was selected in the World Rugby League Team in 1937 and 1938. In 1942 he became the only Maori to represent England at rugby in a match against Wales. John also played rugby for the NZ Services and represented the NZ Services in Tennis at Wimbledon.