Picture of Ella Mitchell
by Ella Mitchell - Friday, 13 March 2020, 1:19 PM

Congratulations to Old Boy, former All Black and current staff member Mr Bruce Hemara and former PNBHS Board of Trustees member Mr John Whitehead who became life members of the Manawatū Rugby Union last night, as well as Mr Hemara being reappointed to his second term as President of the MRU.

"Bruce Hemara, Steve Morris, Terry Clare and John Whitehead were all confirmed with the honour at the union’s annual meeting on Thursday night at the Manawatū Rugby Performance Centre.

Former All Black Hemara was also reappointed to his second term as president of the MRU.

Hemara has been associated with the Manawatū Rugby since he was at school and first represented the province at the Under 12 level.

He played 108 senior games for Freyberg Old Boys between 1978 and 1990.

The hooker played 108 games for Manawatū between 1978 and 1990.

In 1982 he was selected for the New Zealand Māori and went on to play eight games.

In 1985 he made his All Blacks debut playing three games on the team’s tour to Argentina.

Following his rugby career, Hemara has been heavily involved in rugby in the region including tenures as the Manawatū Women’s coach, Manawatū B coach and a five-year stint as assistant coach of the Manawatū Turbos between 2006 and 2010.

He has also worked as a rugby development officer in the region.

He is currently working as a rugby development officer at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, and is operatiing as a resource coach for both Freyberg Old Boys and the MRU.

Fellow Varsity man Whitehead was also added to the union’s life members to acknowledge the substantial contribution he has made on the administration side of the game since arriving at Varsity in 1976. He first joined the club’s committee in 1977.

Whitehead was voted as Varsity’s president in 1995 and 25 years late, it is a role that he still holds.

He has also spent 17 years on the board of the Manawatū Rugby Union taking a key role in the union’s finance sub-committee."