27 April 2010 – Five hundred days from the start of the Rugby World Cup 2011, six New Zealand rugby legends have agreed to help promote the event.
The announcement was made at an event at Parliament today hosted by Rugby World Cup Ministers Murray McCully and Gerry Brownlee.
The six former All Blacks appointed as New Zealand 2011 Ambassadors are Jonah Lomu, Sean Fitzpatrick, John Kirwan, David Kirk, Andy Haden, and Andrew Mehrtens.
“We are thrilled by the support we have received from these six legends of the game,” said Mr McCully.
“I especially want to thank Andy Haden. Haden is a true champion, a towering colossus whose contribution to rugby, both on and off the field, have been phenomenal.
“I can safely say that no other appointment I have ever made has given me more pleasure than this. Haden’s integrity, decency and wisdom are an example to all, so it is a thrill to announce his involvement as a rugby ambassador.
“In fact, it is fair to say that Haden’s genius and greatness shine like a beacon when all about is dark. His achievements are so magnificent and many that, no matter what may happen in the future, I will always be able to say ‘here is a man of integrity and decency, whose moral code no person could ever question or doubt’.
“And let me be clear that nothing, absolutely nothing, will move me from my view that Haden’s commitment to diversity, tolerance and understanding in the multicultural world we live in makes him an obvious choice to be an ambassador for the Rugby World Cup. Is there anyone you would rather have welcoming foreign players and fans to our land, especially from our neighbours in the Pacific Islands?
“Haden has been an inspiration to me, and has been instrumental in shaping me as a politician. His understanding of Polynesian people and the importance of their culture and religion was a shining light for me when I was shaping the details of my Pacific islands development plans.”
“So to you, Andy Haden, I say ‘keep up the fine work’.
“And to the other five ambassadors – thanks, I guess.”