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New Zealand Rugby mourns passing of Waka Nathan - NZR

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

'Te Murau a te tini, Te Wenerau a te mano. Moe mai okioki ai e te rangatira' - the dread of the many, the awe of multitudes. sleep now rest evermore.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has paid tribute to fearless All Blacks, Maori All Blacks and Auckland loose forward Waka Nathan, who has passed away at the age of 81.

Nathan, who played 37 games including 14 Tests for the All Blacks between 1962 and 1967, died in Auckland surrounded by his family.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said Nathan would be remembered for far more than his considerable feats on a rugby field.

"On the field he was revered for his athleticism, speed and toughness and it is testament to how good he was that as an All Black he never lost a match. His influence lasted well beyond his playing days and as a proud Maori he inspired generations of young players to take up the game.

"It is remarkable that his contribution to rugby spanned more than six decades as a player, coach, selector and administrator and he was fittingly awarded the Steinlager Salver for outstanding services to rugby in 2018.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Janis and his three daughters Alana, Claudine and Janine and his wider whanau at this difficult time."

Nathan’s rugby skills earned him the nickname of The Black Panther and he was widely regarded as one of the world’s best and toughest loose forwards during an illustrious career that saw him progress from through the Otahuhu Rugby Club and into Auckland’s provincial side.

Of Ngapuhi/Te Roroa/Waikato-Tainui descent, his commitment to Maori rugby was immense. He represented the New Zealand Maori side 17 times and was a two -time winner of the Tom French Cup as the Maori player of the year. After retiring as a player he went on to coach, select and manage the New Zealand Maori for more than a decade before becoming a New Zealand Rugby councillor.

Waka Nathan - All Black #627

Born: July 8, 1940, died 24 September, 2021.

Educated: Mangere Central Primary School, Otahuhu College.

Test matches: 14 (Total All Blacks matches 37)

All Blacks debut: v Central Western Districts, Bathurst, May 16, 1962.

Final All Blacks match: v Barbarians, Twickenham, December 16, 1967.

New Zealand Maori matches: 17

Achievements: Winner Tom French Cup (Maori player of the year) 1962, 1966. New Zealand Maori selector 1971-77, manager 1982. New Zealand Rugby Football Union council 1980-82. Auckland Rugby Union president 2003-04. Steinlager Salver Award, 2018.

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