Riwai Couch to complete rugby dream denied to great-grandfather
Ben Riwai Couch, the Māori All Black, All Black and former Minister of Māori Affairs was part of the famous Wairarapa Bush Team that beat Canterbury for the Ranfurly Shield in 1950.
Despite all of his accomplishments on the field though, his career was marked by an All Black tour to South Africa, where he was ruled out due to his Māori heritage.
But today his great-grandson Brigham Riwai Couch is off to South Africa and says he’s excited to complete a trip his koroua never could.
“Hīkaka ana te ngākau ki te haere ki Awherika ki te Tonga ki te takāro whutupōro hei māngai mo tōku iwi, tōku whānau hoki.”
Brigham is of Ngāi Tahu, Kahungunu, Rangitāne and Ngāti Kuia will be representing his school at the World Rugby Series for secondary schools in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Despite all of his skills, Ben Riwai Couch didn't get a spot on the All Black tour to South Africa due to his Māori Heritage.
“Kāore e āhei ana tōku tino koroua ki te tākaro i te whutupōro nā te apartheid i taua rautau nō reira he maringanui mōku.”
Brigham will also lead the haka in the two games they play at the World Series competition that starts next week.