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.