New Zealand Rugby pays tribute to Queen's Birthday Honour recipients

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has acknowedged former All Blacks Captain Kieran Read and composer of the All Blacks haka Kapa O Pango Derek Lardelli who were honoured in the Queen's Birthday 2020 Honours list today.

34-year-old Read, who retired from the All Blacks at the end of RWC2019, has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to rugby.

Read ended his international career as the second most capped All Black of all time, playing 127 Tests between 2008 and 2019, starting 120 of them, and captained the side in 52 Tests.  He is the most capped All Blacks number eight of all time with all but two of his Test starts in the eight jersey. He lost just 16 times in the Test arena, for a winning record of 91 percent. The World Player of the Year in 2013
, he was a double Rugby World Cup winner in 2011 and 2015.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: "On behalf of everyone involved in New Zealand rugby, I want to congratulate Kieran on his honour. He's the epitome of rugby's values, has been hugely influential as a player and a person, and has a real connection with people. He is a warrior on the field and a gentleman off it and he and his family can be incredibly proud of everything he has given to the game."

Lardelli was named a Knights Companion for his services to Maori arts. One of New Zealand's leading Maori art exponents across many disciplines, he composed Kapa O Pango, which was unveiled for the first time at a Test between the All Blacks and South Africa in 2005.

Kapa O Pango, an alternative to the more well-known Ka Mate haka,  was designed to reflect the multicultural make-up of the All Blacks. Its words and actions celebrate the land of New Zealand / Aotearoa and the silver fern, and the name of the haka can translate simply as 'team in black'.      

"We also congratulate Derek on his knighthood. Kapa O Pango is an incredibly important contribution to the legacy of the All Blacks," Robinson said.