Jonah Lomu remembered in Pacific Islander service
November 28, 2015 5:39 pm
New Zealand’s Pacific Islander community has gathered to remember rugby great Jonah Lomu at a traditional service in Auckland.
Former All Blacks players Tana Umaga and Michael Jones led mourners.
Lomu, who was of Tongan descent, died suddenly at the age of 40 earlier this month. He was widely regarded as one of the best players of all time.
Another public memorial service is due to be held on Monday at Auckland’s Eden Park stadium.
Lomu was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition in 1995.
It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011 and he had to have regular dialysis.
He died of cardiac arrest in Auckland, but the exact cause of his death has not been established.
Lomu was capped 63 times by his country and was considered one of the game’s first global superstars.
“He impressed us with his courage, his humility, his grace under pressure,” New Zealand’s Governor General Jerry Mateparae said, AFP reports.
“His determination to use his influence and his mana (prestige) for the benefit of others was exemplary,” he said.
The casket containing the body of Jonah Lomu sits at the front of the memorial