‘Lomu taught us to dream big’


The great Jonah Lomu has been remembered at a memorial service in South Auckland on Sunday.

The service was attended by his mother, Hepi, along with New Zealand's Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, who spoke warmly of the impression Lomu made on so many people both in Auckland and across New Zealand.

"He was a schoolboy phenomenon of Wesley College, just a year out of college he was playing as the youngest All Black ever," he said. 

"He taught us to reach for the stars, dream big and strive for excellence. Through his love and passion for the game he created opportunities for everyone around the world. 

"He of course played a huge part in bringing the Rugby World Cup back here in 2011… For me as a Mangere boy, he was still the boy who grew up here in Favona." 

Forty candles were lit to mark each year of Lomu's life at a service attended by members of parliament as well as family and friends.

The service was held at the church in Mangere which Lomu had attended whilst growing up.

One emotional tribute came from Lomu's childhood friend Sinipata Kaufononga, who fought back tears telling a story of how his nephews had travelled to London and to Madame Tussauds wax museum to discover how Lomu had come to stand alongside the likes of Mandela and Ghandi. 

"I was so proud of what he had done."