New Zealand rugby is in mourning the death of former Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui as he passed away at the age of 25 in a car accident.
The incident happened on Monday morning as Wainui’s car had left the road and crashed on to a tree near the city of Tauranga. He was the only person in the car during the crash.
“Our thoughts are with Sean and his whanau [family], particularly Paige, Kawariki and Arahia, and we offer them our full support at what is the most difficult of times,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.
“We know Sean’s passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs teammates, and we share their sorrow and their shock.”
Wainui started his career with Taranaki and went on to play with Super Rugby sides Crusaders and Chiefs apart from 10 appearances for Maori All Blacks.
“As a player we all saw what this young tane was capable of and the passion and talent that he brought to the teams he represented, but we also saw a role model for young Maori, a caring father who was passionate about his culture, his language, and his identity. He will be sorely missed," said New Zealand Maori Rugby Board chair Farah Palmer.
Wainui is survived by his wife Paige and his two children, Kawariki and Arahia.
We are heartbroken right now. Sean, you were an inspiration and will never be forgotten. We extend all of our strength and aroha to your friends and whanau. ??— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 18, 2021
Kia au to moe. pic.twitter.com/R0o9fqgW6R