• Maori Rugby Great Maniapoto Passes at Age of 81

    The rugby world in general and the New Zealand rugby world in particular, were saddened to learn of the passing of former Maori All Black Manukapua Maniapoto at his home in Rotorua.

    “Manu” as he was known, was 81 years of age, and he died peacefully, surrounded by his extended family.

    Born in 1935, Manu legend claims that he started playing senior rugby at the age of 11 and was the first man to play 100 matches for the Bay of Plenty union. He played lock for Bay of Plenty from 1960 until 1968, accumulating a total of 107 games. Over that stretch, he scored 10 tries. He also represented Maori tribal rugby for six years.

    He was, of course, selected to the union’s Team of the Century.

    Manu’s brothers Huri and Jim played for Bay of Plenty and New Zealand Maori as well. Interestingly, brother Jim accumulated the exact same 107-game figure as Manu.

    Manukapua Maniapoto proudly devoted 15 years to the Whakarewarewa club from 1955 to 1969.

    Burial arrangements have been finalized, with the plan being to take Maniapoto’s body to Waitetoko marae on the southern shores of Lake Taupo for tangi rites, which will be followed by his actual burial on Thursday.