Kurtis Haiu, former Blues player, farewelled at old school

Kurtis Haiu, a former Blues and Auckland rugby player, died last week, aged 31, after a long battle with cancer.

Haiu was a also a former New Zealand under-19 and under-21 representative.

His career ended prematurely in 2011 when a rare form of bone cancer, Ewings Sarcoma, was discovered in his ribs.

He has been remembered as a great athlete and a loving family man at Sacred Heart college, the place where his athletic prowess first began to thrive.

“When Kurtis was 13 he left Whangarei to attend Sacred Heart College as a boarder,” said Former team mate Onosa’i Auva’a in his eulogy.

“He was a star in the sporting arena, and was known as one of the fittest athletes.”

He made the school’s first XV in the fourth form as a 14-year-old.”

“He gave the school his New Zealand Secondary Schools jersey, and was named sportsman of the year in his final year at Sacred Heart.”

About 1000 mourners turned out for the funeral with coach Tana Umaga and captain Jerome Kaino leading the entire Blues contingent, while Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Michael Jones and Craig Innes were also in attendance.

“His greatest effort wasn’t on the rugby field, it was fighting cancer,” said Haiu’s brother Leon in his eulogy.

“Kurtis refused to let on how much pain he was in when he was battling the disease.”

“Because my brother was such a man’s man I would try to never cry around him.”

“I saw there his body emaciated, skeletal, his arms skinny, knowing he’s gonna die and I just burst into tears, I couldn’t control it.”

“My brother got up off his bed even though he was weak as and hugged me and told me he loved me. I’ll forever cherish those moments.”

The service finished with Sacred Heart students and old boys performing a haka as Haiu’s coffin was taken away to his burial at Manukau Memorial Gardens.

Haiu, who played 53 times for the Blues between 2006 and 2011, leaves behind wife Frieda and two young daughters.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,