Waka Nathan attempts to toe the ball ahead, playing for New Zealand Māori against the French at McLean Park, Napier, in 1961. (from teara.govt.nz)

from the TVNZ website

Auckland Rugby announced Nathan’s death in a statement on Friday morning, acknowledging his passing “with great sadness”.

“Waka was a man of incredible mana who devoted a large part of his life to Auckland Rugby,” the union wrote.

“Waka will be missed greatly, and our condolences go out to the Nathan whānau at this time.

Waka’s legacy will forever be etched into the history of our union.”

Nathan played 23 times for the All Blacks as a flanker including 14 Tests and was heavily involved in Auckland Rugby since making his debut at 18.

Nathan played 88 games for the union before earning selection for the New Zealand Māori in 1960. He’d debut for the All Blacks two years later in a tour of Australia where he played both Tests against the Wallabies.

The late Sir Colin Meads described Waka as “the most virile runner with the ball in hand” – a reputation garnered from his 1963-64 tour of Britain where, despite having a broken jaw, he scored 13 tries in 15 matches.

After retiring, Nathan stayed in the game initially as a selector for the New Zealand Māori between 1971 and 1977 before he managed a tour of Wales for the side in 1982.

Nathan would later be elected president of Auckland Rugby in 2003 before moving to Patron of the union’s board.

Nathan was honoured by Auckland Rugby for his commitment and devotion to the union as a player and administrator with the creation of the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup which Auckland Rugby’s premier club teams compete for.

Original article