September 24, 2021
Waka Nathan one of the best
The whistle has blown for Waka Nathan, one of the best loose forwards of all time, who died today aged 81.
The player known as the Black Panther played 14 tests as an All Black.
On the 1963-64 tour of Great Britain in he scored 11 tries in 15 matches.
He also played 88 games for Auckland, and was former president and patron of the Auckland Rugby Union.
He was a New Zealand Māori selector between 1971-77 and managed the New Zealand Māori on their tour of Wales in 1982.
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says he often talked rugby with Nathan at his Māngere Bridge butcher shop, and also interviewed him for a Māori rugby greats series on Māori radio.
He says while he wasn’t a political man, Nathan did share his view that in his time Māori players always had to be two or three times better than Pākehā to make the All Blacks.
He says Nathan was a great tackler and great runner, and with fellow flanker Tremain they dominated the edge of the scrum during their era.