Tributes flow for sporting icons

Thursday May 17, 2018 Written by Published in Sports
Massey Mateariki, who passed away this week, was a big supporter of rugby development in the Cook Islands. PHOTO: Bergman Gallery. 18051621a Massey Mateariki, who passed away this week, was a big supporter of rugby development in the Cook Islands. PHOTO: Bergman Gallery. 18051621a

Tributes are flowing for well-known Cook Islander and sports supporter Massey Mateariki following his sudden death this week.

Mateariki was an ardent rugby fan and helped the development of the sport at all levels.

He was also the manager of various national teams, including the Cook Islands 15s which played Tahiti in the Rugby World Cup qualifier last year.

Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager Ben Koteka said they were saddened to hear about the untimely death of Mateariki.

He said the Atiu-born Mateariki was passionate about the development of the game.

“Massey was from Atiu and he cared a lot about the development of the game on the islands as well as in Rarotonga. He was passionate about the game and full of energy,” Koteka said.

“He came through the ranks managing the age group national teams before taking on the reins of the senior team.

“In the local scene, he was the manager of the Atiu Warriors Sevens team and he dedicated a lot of his time in the development of the game in Atiu.”

Koteka also paid tribute to national icon Papa Dan Kamana for his contribution to rugby and sports in general.

The Cook Islands Sevens side also paid tribute to Mateariki and Papa Dan Kamana, who passed away last week.

“It is with great sadness to hear that two of rugby union’s biggest supporters in the Cook Islands have passed away, Papa Dan last week and Atiu Warrior Massey Mateariki,” the team announced on its Facebook page.

“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love, support and passion you’ve shown our various teams over the years. God bless and rest in peace in God’s sanctuary.

“On behalf of Cook Islands Rugby 7s, the players and staff, we would like to pass on our dearest condolences to the Papa Dan Kamana and Massey Mateariki families.”

Papa Dan will be laid to rest tomorrow while the date of Mateariki’s funeral is yet to be confirmed. 

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