Much more than rugby

18/02/2016

Richie McCaw was named the New Zealander of the Year last night.

. . .Presenting the award, Prime Minister John Key said: “One end of the country to the other we’re jam-packed with people who do incredible things.

“Kids always ask: ‘What’s the coolest thing about being Prime Minister? The free things – the people.

“Richie McCaw, who is the greatest All Black New Zealand has ever produced – an amazing New Zealander.

“Louise Nicholas who has done more for sexual violence and sexual abuse than any other New Zealander.

“Rob Fenwick who has a real passion… For the environment that we as New Zealanders treasure and enjoy so much.”

McCaw played a record 148 tests for the All Blacks, 111 of them as captain. . . 

He won for more than rugby, more than sport.

He is a great sportsman but he also does a lot of work with charity and it’s not just what he does but the way he does it – drive, the passion, the dedication, the humility.

McCaw said he was “hugely humbled” to be in the company of such great people.

“I’m the sort of guy who wants to give everything a crack.

“When you’re an old man sitting back and reflecting… Whether you achieved it or not, at least you gave it a crack, and that’s what I want to be thinking.”

McCaw received a standing ovation when his name was read out as winner of the New Zealander of the Year award.

He was then draped with a traditional Maori cloak, and said:

“For 15 years I was lucky enough to do something I loved.

“All I did was play sport really…

“I got more joy really from seeing those around me achieve… And the impact you can have on other people is truly a privilege.

“Representing a country on the world stage… Being the little country going up against the big ones and winning, that’s when you’re proud to wear the silver fern on you chest.

“Travelling round the world and being able to say you’re a Kiwi… That’s what it’s all about.

“Being able to give time to kids and the sport I love so much… And hopefully in the years going forward I’m able to do much more.

“It’s pretty cool.” . . .

McCaw was a record-winning All Black captain and his leadership showed not just on the field but in the way the team behaved off the field.

He stands out as a sportsman, a giver, a leader a man of character and a great New Zealander.

Paul Henry interviewed him here.

Kathryn Ryan interviewed him here.

 

 

 


No glory in being best of mediocre lot

24/01/2009

Oh dear, Herald readers have voted Helen Clark the greatest living New Zealander which only proves we’re a very mediocre lot.

That is not just  because my political bias clouds my judgement of her, I wouldn’t have considered any of the top five finalists as great either. They were:

* Helen Clark – 3163 votes
* Willie Apiata – 2645 votes
* Sir Murray Halberg – 1467 votes
* Peter Jackson – 1340 votes
* Peter Snell – 1041 votes

Others to score well were All Black great Colin Meads, 1021 votes; Mad Butcher Peter Leitch, 514 votes; The Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall, 387 votes; and Louise Nicholas with 361 votes. Sir Roger Douglas, nominated by Don Brash attracted debate but not a lot of votes.

All have done something of note, some more than others in their fields, but great? No.

I agree with Clark who said that Sir Edmund Hillary would have won the title had he still been alive. That wasn’t because he was first to climb Everest but because of what he did subsequently, in particular in the way he used his achievement to help others.

I can think of no other New Zealander with the mana he had nor anyone who even approaches greatness.

The Herald has generated discussion, and traffic to its website, with the poll but the only thing it’s proved is that there is no-one worthy of the title greatest living New Zealander.

There are many good things about New Zealand and New Zealanders but none of us is great.


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