New Zealand legend Sir Colin Meads will have a statue erected on the main street in his hometown of Te Kuiti, it has been announced.
Meads is battling pancreatic cancer and the statue is expected to be unveiled in June 2017, in time for the British and Irish Lions tour.
It will be 2.9 metres high and will weigh close to a tonne to honour a player who turned out 133 times for the All Blacks from 1957 to 1971.
“It’s the Kiwi way for communities to get behind these types of projects and this is certainly one of the special ones, significant for many New Zealanders,” LTK project manager Yvette Ronaldson told Stuff.
“Not only is Sir Colin iconic in terms of rugby, he has given so much to the Te Kuiti community and the country for many years.
“His support of a huge variety of charities alone is immeasurable.
“We believe it is now time for us as a town and a country, to pay homage to him, to thank him.”
Waitomo mayor Brian Hanna added: “Our goal is to turn this project into a major attraction for Te Kuiti, and our wider district alike.
“The significant tourist numbers expected for the Lions tour – 20,000-plus with the vast majority to be based in the North Island – is the perfect opportunity to open the Meads exhibition to not only New Zealanders but the rugby world.
“It is also great to have the support of the wider Meads family, who are pleased to share the amazing collection of rugby memorabilia collected over many years with the New Zealand and international public.
“This will be a fantastic tribute to our most famous legend,” Hanna continued.
“It is great New Zealand Rugby is right behind this opportunity to pay homage to Sir Colin, in the rightful place – his hometown.
“A statue of Sir Colin is well overdue.”