Friday, August 17, 2007

Date with Richie McCaw (the Northern Advocate)

By Abi Thomas

Picture by John Stone

Whangaroa College student Caitlin Hills knew she was being asked to escort an important visitor to her school yesterday morning.
But she had no idea it was All Blacks captain Richie McCaw - let alone why he was there.

"All I knew was that it was someone special come to visit the school," the 17-year-old said.
And she didn't just get the honour of escorting him to the hall for the powhiri. During the assembly - attended by several schools around Kaeo - McCaw announced a student at the college had won the national Team McCaw promotion, a search to find New Zealand's most dedicated and sporty kid.

Caitlin was nominated by teacher Jo Hona.
"I'm so pleased the few people I told have kept the secret," Ms Hona said.
When McCaw described the winner as `she', excited whispers spread through the attentive crowds.

"Ka pai, Caity," echoed the audience as the All Black captain announced her name.
School kaumatua Archie More welcomed McCaw to Whangaroa College and to Kaeo.
"We hope your mana, and all the mahi (work) you do to get where you are as All Black captain, will rub off on our students."

Parent representative Sailor Morgan tried his best to recruit McCaw for the local club team.
"Richie's coming back every Labour Weekend to play for Wainui!" he said.
McCaw responded, saying he was otherwise engaged at a slightly bigger rugby tournament later this year.

"I'd love to come back at Labour Weekend to play for Wainui, but I've got an important date in France around then."
Caitlin, who is the school sports captain, started playing netball this year, and volunteered to help her brother in the boys' soccer team, quickly becoming one of their leading goal-scorers.

Caitlin said she plays most sports - her favourites are soccer and basketball - but said she wasn't allowed in the boys' rugby team.
McCaw joined in with netball passing drills, impressing the students when he slotted a "fluke" goal from well outside the shooting circle.

McCaw, who had never been north of Whangarei, was full of praise for the close-knit Northland town.
"They've had some rough times up here with the floods, but it's a great wee community."


The video of this meeting is available on :

Title : McCaw's hush hush mission :

Tuesday August 14, 06:46 PM
McCaw's surprise turn for Caitlin

For once Richie McCaw wasn't on the receiving end of an accolade when he paid a flying visit to the flood ravaged Northland settlement of Kaeo today.
The All Blacks captain made a surprise appearance at the town's Whangaroa College today to make a presentation -- not an acceptance speech -- before a captivated school population.
Caitlin Hills was the lucky student to be singled out at the assembly after being chosen as the winner of a nationwide competition by Westpac Bank to find New Zealand's young sportsperson with the best attitude.
The 17-year-old had been nominated by teacher Jo Hona, who was impressed with her willingness to tackle any sport -- even soccer with the boys' team.
She volunteered to help out her brother's short-staffed team and ended up as one of the top goalscorers.

The 17-year-old's sunny disposition in the wake of floodwaters that swamped her home town in March and again last month also impressed Hona and the judging panel.
Hills was expecting McCaw's arrival at the school gate but wasn't aware he was there specifically to see her.
"All I knew was that I had to represent the school and bring Richie McCaw to our school," she said.
McCaw, who was appointed as a roving ambassador with the bank in June, spoke of his life as an All Black and then undertook some ball skills sessions with the students -- before one-on-one drills with Hills.
The first year netballer and soccer player was suitably impressed, not that rugby is on her own personal sporting horizon.
"Now we're playing basketball," she said.

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