A Teenager’s perspective
Jonah Tali Lomu was a New Zealand Rugby player born and raised in Auckland.
A well-known fact about Jonah Lomu was that he was the youngest All Black to ever grace a Rugby field when he was 19 years old.
Since then, he has established for himself a special place in history as one of the most exciting players to ever play the game.
He has 37 international tries to his name from only 63 international caps.
Standing at 1.96m and weighing about 119 kg, he was big and his lightning speed made him lethal on the field and a major threat to any rival team. He was absolute dynamite, bulldozing his way past any opponent that dared to tackle him.
Even the late Hollywood actor Robin Williams was awestruck at the way in which Jonah would blitz past players on the field.
It seemed as if he could bend the laws of physics.
He would be best remembered for his blistering performance against England at the 1995 Rugby World Cup where he scored five tries in one game and with that he became the sport’s first superstar.
The other side
The lesser known side of him was the warm, family man that was loved by everyone who he met, including rival rugby players, fans and celebrities.
Jonah was born and raised in Mangere, South Auckland in a middleclass family and at school he had a hard time fitting in because of his sheer size.
These challenges developed the character that people all around the world knew and loved. His unique sense of humour coupled with his loud and bellowing laugh made him very good company for his friends.
Jonah came a long way from his humble beginning to become one of the greatest Rugby players of all time.
At his memorial service at Lotofale’la Tongan Methodist Church in Auckland held on November 23, 2015, his friend Sinipata Kaufononga described an incident that dated back to their formative years.
Those were the days of Reebok sneakers, which many could not afford.
Jonah had a pair ‘cut to size’- he simply cut out the front ends of the pair.
Later in life Reebok paid him $5000 a day to promote the brand. What a story!
Pacific Islanders are known for their human values, friendship and community unity. In that sense, Jonah is hailed as a ‘Super Hero,’ not just because he is the only Pacific Islander to have a wax statue at Madame Tussauds in London.
Matthew D’Souza is a teenager studying at Avondale College in Auckland.
Photo: Jonah Lamu