As it happened: Jonah Lomu memorial service - Casket led out of Eden Park to moving haka

ONE News Now live updates have now concluded for Jonah Lomu's memorial service at Eden Park in Auckland.


Masses of Lomu’s former teammates performed a haka on the field of Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

Current students of Wesley College in the Eden Park crowd perform a moving spontaneous haka as Jonah's casket exits the stadium. 40 doves are released by Nadene as a symbol of peace. 


Two powerful hakas are performed as pallbearers including Jerome Kaino and Manu Vatuvei carry the casket out of Eden Park. The first haka is performed by past Wesley College students and the second by past All Blacks and team mates, lead by Buck Shelford and Tana Umaga.

Symbolic of love and peace, the doves were released from the field of Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS


Lizzie Marvelly has performed How Great Thou Art, crowd members are also singing and waving Number 11 black flags including Jonah's wife Nadene. 


MC John Campbell has made a personal tribute to Jonah's wife, sons and mother.

"Our Jonah was first and foremost your Jonah," Campbell said.

"What a player, and as we've heard so beautifully, what a man, and now it's time to say good bye."

Campbell has invited the crowd to stand for a final song and prayer before Jonah's casket is taken away. 


Lomu’s wife wept through a song performed by ADEAZE, while the crowd waved flags in unison. Source: 1 NEWS

Ardijah, a music group Jonah was known to love, are performing while crowd members wave their flags to the music. 


Eric Rush has spoken of his good friend and former team mate, describing Jonah as a 115kg "man-child" when they first met at a young age.

"Whenever me and the big fella got together we would take the mickey out of each other, and that's not going to change today," Mr Rush said.

The haka was performed on the field of Eden Park at the conclusion of Jonah Lomu's public memorial. Source: 1 NEWS

"Jonah feared no man, but when his mum said something... He acted. Hepi, thank you for sharing your son with the world".

Mr Rush had the crowd laughing with stories of him and Jonah on sports trips, and said he will remember the rugby star as "a good mate and loving dad" before tearing up.

"When his kids came... That was the happiest I have ever seen him."

"We're definitely going to miss you mate."


Recently Jonah told me that his greatest joy was watching his children grow up... His greatest fear was that he might not live long enough to see that happen. - John Hart, former All Blacks coach

John Hart has been the Lomu family's spokesperson since Jonah's death, and is now sharing his own memories of the All Blacks legend.

"He mesmerised the world and it is frightening to think what he could have done on the field, had he not played virtually all of his carer with a medical handbrake," Mr Hart said.

"It is frightening to think what he could’ve done on the field had he played without a huge medical handbrake?" Source: 1 NEWS

"Recently Jonah told me that his greatest joy was watching his children grow up... His greatest fear was that he might not live long enough to see that happen."

"Will there ever be another New Zealander whose sudden passing hits CNN breaking news, who receives an obituary in the New York Times, whose passing was recorded on the front page of major newspapers around the world, and who has had superstars and legendary figures of sport, stage and politics around the world expressing their respect and condolences?"

John Hart delivers a strong eulogy at Eden Park to remember Jonah Lomu. Source: 1 NEWS

"But perhaps The Queen, in her personal message to Nadene just last week says it all when she says it was a pleasure for her to meet Jonah, a figure of great inspiration to so many, and that his loss would be keenly felt around the world but especially in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands."


Wesley College colleague and family friend Kirk Manihera has reflected on his early memories of Jonah when he arrived at the school in 1989 aged 14 and nearly two metres tall.

Jonah would have loved this, his Favona Primary School kids perform a sweet song and dance for their idol. Source: 1 NEWS

"On his enrolment it is true to say that Jonah had somewhat of a troubled background and some issues with discipline and anger," Mr Manihera said.

"The Wesley College environment however soon embraced Jonah and he found ways to take on a more positive and constructive view of life."

Jonah Lomu was soon welcomed by senior players after they witnessed his immense rugby talent. Source: 1 NEWS

"Rugby wasn't easy for him at the start... He had to overcome a number of significant challenges, the first was the indignation of the senior rugby players who wondered how a fourth form student could suddenly appear at a first 15 training without having done the rugby hard yards."


Favona Primary School students have performed a special song and dance for Jonah to the delight of crowd members.

I was at the World Cup in 1999 when the All Blacks lost the semi-final to France... Despite his deep disappointment Jonah remained on the field until he’d shaken the hand of every single French player. - Prime Minister John Key

They sung the lyrics "Number 11, our hero in heaven".


World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset has paid tribute to "the giant man who leaves a giant space in rugby".

Mr Lapasset talked about Jonah's contribution to the bid for 7's to be included in the Olympics in 2009.

Chairman of World Rugby, Bernard Lapasset came from Paris to pay tribute to Jonah Lomu at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

"He believed that rugby would benefit greatly from being part of that Olympic family. He put in a huge amount of time and thought to make sure the presentation was as powerful and meaningful as possible," Mr Lapasset said.

"Ultimately our successful application for rugby to return to the Summer Olympic Programme in 2016 was in no small part down to his contribution and powers of persuasion."

"It is a great shame that he will not now be there in Rio De Janeiro to witness what will be an historic occasion for our sport."


John Key has spoken via video link of Jonah's "unwavering sportsmanship".

"I was at the World Cup in 1999 when the All Blacks lost the semi-final to France. Despite his deep disappointment Jonah remained on the field until he’d shaken the hand of every single French player," Mr Key said.

"He remains an inspiration to a whole generation of young Polynesian men."


Michael Jones, Joeli Vidiri, Manu Vatuvei lead pall bearers onto the field for the public memorial. Source: 1 NEWS

John Campbell is the master of ceremonies today and has welcomed all parties to Eden Park, a "special place where Jonah played his best rugby".

"To Nadene, and their two beautiful boys... Thank you for sharing your Jonah with us one last time, we all feel such loss today but the most immense and personal loss today is yours," Campbell said.

Jonah’s father-in-law Merv Quirk prays for the late All Black at his memorial service today. Source: 1 NEWS


Jonah's father-in-law Merv Quirk has spoken the opening prayer for his "dear son".

Members of Ngati Whatua sing a waiata while Jonah Lomu’s casket rests on stage. Source: 1 NEWS


The memorial has commenced with a haka powhiri by local iwi Ngati Whatua.

Pallbearers include Michael Jones, Jerome Kaino, Manu Vatuvei and Frank Bunce. 

Nadene Lomu and kids Brayley and Dhyreille begin the memorial on stage at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

Jonah's wife Nadene and sons Dhyreille and Brayley walk directly behind the casket.


Hundreds are entering Auckland's Eden park ahead of the memorial at 1pm, many waving black flags featuring the number 11 as tribute to Jonah.


Josh Kronfeld tells Peter Williams that in 1995, Lomu was "a great fit for what the team did" and "he was a treat to watch".

Kronfeld says Lomu interacted "with all the boys" but that he and Kronfeld became movie buddies.

"Jonah was a big movie fan, so was I was often just us and I got to know him a little better than most Kiwis".

He said today was awesome in one respect that it was a great chance to catch up with old All Blacks friends like Frank Bunce, and his "heart goes out to the family. An absolute tragedy."


Former Wallaby midfielder Tim Horan has reflected on early memories of Jonah to ONE News' Peter Williams and Andrew Saville.

"Played him in his first sevens tournament back in 1994. He was an 18 year old and I remember looking up and thinking “where’s this bloke come from?”," Mr Horan said.

Wallabies legend Horan reflects on his friendship with Jonah. Source: 1 NEWS

"We hadn’t heard of him."

Mr Horan last saw Jonah at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the UK.

"I think he realised he didn’t have 30 or 40 years left but he knew that he wanted to make sure that he wanted to be a great ambassador for the game but also his family was really important aswell – his kids, and it’s a sad day obviously for world rugby but world sport as well."


Pita Alatini has told ONE News' Peter Williams and Andrew Saville of his "awesome memories" with Jonah.

"He was devastating on the field but off... he was a gentle giant," Mr Alatini said.

"I'm here to send my mate off."


Details of Jonah Lomu's public memorial service at Eden Park have been released, with the arrival of the All Black legend's hearse expected at 1pm.

Source: Breakfast

The arrival of Mr Lomu will be followed by a haka powhiri (traditional Maori welcome) by local iwi Ngati Whatua.