22 February 2021
The most influential Māori sportspeople of the past 30 years have been crowned and four rugby league greats have been honoured in one of the most prestigious sporting lists.
Dubbed The Little General during his standout career with the Warriors and the Kiwis, Jones was, according to broadcaster Dale Husband, “so popular he could have been Prime Minister”. Played 48 tests and 238 NRL games for the Warriors before turning to coaching. Ex-Warriors and Kiwis teammate Wairangi Koopu said Jones transformed both teams. “The small rarea bird flies up high in the kahikatea tree. That’s how you’d sum up Stacey Jones.”
The star of the Kiwis’ only Rugby League World Cup winning team in 2008, Benji Marshall is about to enter his 19th NRL season, having played over 300 first grade games. Won a NRL title with Wests Tigers in 2005 when he produced an amazing flick pass in the grand final. Golden Boot winner in 2010 as international player of the year. “He could have played State of Origin, he definitely could have played for Australia, but he chose the black jersey over a Kangaroos jumper,” said ex-Kiwi Tony Kemp. “To me, that says everything. The guy’s an absolute legend.”
One of the most respected players in NZ Rugby League history and across the entire NRL scene, Wiki starred during 12 seasons with the Canberra Raiders, winning the 1994 premiership as a centre. Ended his 311-game career with three seasons as a Warriors prop. The most capped Kiwi with 55 tests and a NRL Hall of Famer. Former Kiwis captain Hugh McGahan said of Wiki: “He’s got conviction, he’s got resilience, he’s got power. He never knew the meaning of the word, ‘giving up’.’’
Her 32 Test tenure in the Kiwi Ferns jersey includes four World Cups spanning 18 seasons. Putararu-born Hireme-Smiler was named World Cup MVP in 2013 and also appeared for the Black Ferns a year later at the 2014 Rugby World Cup, as well as starring in the Black Ferns sevens team. Former Warriors and Kiwis forward Wairangi Koopu claims Hireme’s ease at switching between the two codes earned her the nickname of “Honey Bill Williams”. She was named in NRL.com’s Women’s Rugby League Team of the Decade (2010s) and appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the game, cementing her standing as one of women’s rugby league’s all-time greats.
1. Lisa Carrington – Te Aitanga-A-Māhaki/Ngāti Porou (Canoeing)2. Michael Campbell – Ngāti Ruanui/Ngāi Rauru (Golf)3. Wynton Rufer – Ngāti Porou (Football)4. Jason Wynyard – Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi (Wood Chopping)5. Pero Cameron – Ngāpuhi (Basketball)6. Zinzan Brooke – Ngāpuhi (Rugby)7. Stacey Jones – Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi (Rugby League)8. Farah Palmer – Tainui/Ngāti Maniapoto (Rugby)9. Benji Marshall – Ngāi Tuhoe (Rugby League)10. Dame Noeline Taurua – Ngāpuhi (Netball)11. Aaron Smith – Ngāti Kahungunu (Rugby)12. Portia Woodman – Ngāpuhi (Rugby)13. Ruben Wiki – Ngāpuhi (Rugby League)14. Trent Boult – Ngāi Tahu/Ngāti Porou/Ngāi Te Rangi (Cricket)15. Eric Rush – Ngāpuhi (Rugby)16. Winston Reid – Tainui/Te Arawa (Football)17. Peter Martin – Te Arawa (Paralympics Athletics)18. Leilani Joyce – Ngāti Hine/Ngāi Te Rangi/Tainui (Squash)19. Suzie Bates – Ngāi Tahu (Cricket/Basketball)20. Honey Hireme-Smiler – Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāi Haua/Waikato-Tainui (Rugby League/Rugby)21. Nathan Nukunuku – Ngāti Porou (Softball)22. Temepara Bailey – Ngāpuhi (Netball)23. Shane Bond – Ngāi Tahu (Cricket)24. Sarah Hirini – Ngāti Kahungunu (Rugby)25. Joelle King – Ngāti Porou (Squash)26. Raelene Castle – Ngāpuhi (Sports Administrator)27. Kayla Whitelock – Rangitāne (Hockey)28. Cathy Millen – Ngāi Tuhoe (Power Lifting)29. Cameron Leslie – Ngāpuhi (Paralympics Swimming/Wheelchair Rugby)30. Shannon McIlroy – Ngāti Porou (Lawn Bowls)