In the international rugby world, few players can ever compare to Jonah Lomu. The left wing was a dominant force throughout his New Zealand career, and was only slowed by a rare, debilitating kidney disease that eventually led to his untimely death on Tuesday. A day later, his former high school — Wesley College in Auckland — paid homage in the perfect way: A farewall Haka.
For the uninitiated, the Haka is a traditional Maori war cry that New Zealand’s national sports teams use before games as a means of unity and intimidation. It’s also been used stateside by programs that have a significant Pacific Island heritage, including Texas power Euless Trinity, which has a large Tongan connection. The most famous and fearsome of all Hakas is the one performed by the All Blacks, New Zealand’s back-to-back Rugby World Cup champion squad, the same one where Lomu skyrocketed to international fame. Here’s the All Blacks performing the Haka before their recent triumph in the Rugby World Cup final against archrival Australia.
While Lomu’s passing sparked sad remembrances and honorariums across the country, Lomu’s alma mater remembered the superstar the only way it knew how: With a full-blooded Haka. Rarely have remembrances been more appropriate and uplifting than Wesley College’s effort. Somewhere, Lomu would have been proud.