He’s known to most as ‘The Mad Butcher,’ but what many may not know about Sir Peter Leitch, is just how much he has done for rugby league and the sport’s community in New Zealand.
It’s hard to remember a Kiwis Test match where Sir Peter Leitch wasn’t present and when it comes to Warriors games, he’s basically a walking billboard who pulls people from all walks of life into the game to get a taste of being a part of the rugby league whanau.
Many can recognise the unique ability rugby league has to unite and empower communities, and those people who make that possible very rarely want the accolades to show for their hard work. Sir Peter Leitch is one of those special people who inject rugby league with life and purpose but he is quick to point out that he “doesn’t do it for the awards.”
At the Kiwis reunion recently, NZRL Chairman Reon Edwards presented Sir Peter Leitch with a special recognition pounamu taonga to honour his tireless contributions to rugby league that dates back to the 1970s.
“Sir Peter has touched the lives of so many people within the NZRL community,”
“Whether it’s assisting league communities with fundraising or helping individuals who may not otherwise have the resources to reach their goals, he generously gives his time and money to support those in need without expecting anything in return and has done for many years,” Edwards says.
Leitch began his association with league through the Mangere East Hawks in Auckland during the 1970s before becoming involved with NZRL, the Kiwis and Warriors.
He was NZRL patron from 2011 to 2017, manager of the Kiwis’ successful 2005 Tri-Nations campaign and the Warriors have even retired the No. 19 jersey in his honour.
It’s safe to say his efforts go beyond the usual life membership criteria, his kind gestures purely done for the love of rugby league and its people.
“My newsletter (Mad Butcher’s Club weekly newsletter) has been going for almost 20 years now and just like everything I do, it’s for the game and the people within it,”
“I was humbled to receive the pounamu in front of the 2018 Kiwis team and a room full of Kiwis legends that have also given their lives to the game,” Leitch says.
His passion for rugby league is infectious and New Zealand Rugby League wishes to thank Sir Peter Leitch for all that he has done for the game of rugby league in New Zealand.