Meynell Strathmore Blomfield, better known as Lofty Blomfield was New Zealand’s most popular wrestler during the 1930s and 1940s. He is the longest-serving heavyweight champion in New Zealand’s history.
He was born on July 18, 1908. During his childhood, he practised sports like rugby and racing motorcycles in grass track competitions.
Inspired by professional wrestlers from abroad, he decided to become one. He travelled to Australia to specialize and worked in Sydney posing as a Canadian wrestler. He soon gained popularity for his aggressive fighting style and returned to New Zealand to compete.
Walter Miller, an agent for the Dominion Wrestling Union was so impressed by the sight of him that he convinced him to continue preparing in his home country.
Its popularity was rapid. His best move, The Octopus Clamp was a resounding success.
In 1938, he became the first New Zealander to fight in the NWA Heavyweight World Championship. He had a successful amateur career winning heavyweight titles in Auckland, New Zealand.
He fought 490 fights in New Zealand and 1200 fights around the world between 1929 and 1949.
On March 17, 1938, he fought the best NWA heavyweight of the time, Bronko Nagurski in Vancouver. They fought to the limit of time. Blomfield became the first New Zealander to challenge for the title.
Not only did he have the national title. He also had the British Empire Championship – NWA Community.
Bloomfield enlisted in World War II to serve his country. He achieved the rank of sergeant major before being discharged.
After his retirement, he became a successful hotelier. He was a member of the Whangarei Deep-Sea Fisherman’s Club, the Northland Jogging Club. He was also a member of the Whangarei Motor Boat Association and sponsored many athletic organizations.
He was an outstanding altruist working with children with intellectual disabilities. He founded the IHC Northland and the Blomfield Special School and Resource Centre in Whangarei.
It was in 1990 that Blomfield was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. He is the only wrestler admitted. He is one of the top ten New Zealand-born wrestlers and ranked number 1.
Blomfield had several marriages. The first was on July 14, 1927, with Agnes Myra Lawton with whom he had two children. They divorced 10 years later, and he married Lily May Balenzuela.
He died at the age of 62 in Whangarei on June 29, 1971.
After his second marriage failed in 1945, he married Heather June Ingley on February 20, 1946. They divorced in 1960 but remarried on September 10, 1969, in Auckland and had three children.
Lofty Blomfield is a pride for New Zealand. It’s an example of improvement. His story is living proof that if you want something in life, you must work hard for it and be constant. Although it was many years after his death that he passed to enter the Sports Hall of Fame, he is one of the favourites of all New Zealanders.