Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and Maori All Blacks player Sean Wainui has died in a car accident aged 25. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Police said they were notified at 7.50am that a vehicle had crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island.
Wainui was the only occupant.
“To you Sean, our Rangatira (chief), we farewell you to the outspread arms of the multitudes who await you beyond this earthly realm,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement. “You leave us here bereft and (to) drown in sorrow as we weep for you.”
Chief executive Mark Robinson sent New Zealand Rugby’s condolences to Wainui’s family.
“Our thoughts are with Sean and his whanau (family), particularly Paige, Kawariki and Arahia, and we offer them our full support,” 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.”
My thoughts are with Sean Wainuis’ family. Especially his wife & young child. Although I didn’t play alongside him, I could always feel his mana coming up against him as his opposition. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
"He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of and his presence will be missed," Maori All Blacks, Chiefs and former Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan said.
"He epitomised everything you could possibly ask for in a player. He will be remembered for being a passionate, hard-working, proud Maori who was an exceptional player but more importantly father and husband."