Richard (Dick) Littlejohn remembered as a ‘legend’ in the rugby world


Richard (Dick) Littlejohn in 2011. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s longest-serving member and a former All Blacks manager has been remembered as a “legend” in the rugby world.

Richard (Dick) Littlejohn died on September 12, a Bay of Plenty Rugby Union post said.

After 73 years of service to rugby, Littlejohn had several notable achievements on a local and national level.

Between 1963 and 1989, he took up various roles as the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s executive, president and chairman. In 1990, he was honored with a Bay of Plenty Rugby Union life membership.

Nationally, his achievements included being on the New Zealand Rugby Union council between 1981 to 1988, All Blacks manager from 1984 to 1985 and director of the board of the Rugby World Cup in 1987. In 2018, he was honored with a New Zealand Rugby Union life membership.

The union chief’s executive Mike Rogers said Dick would be best remembered for his vision for the game, astute leadership and determination to get the job done, no matter what challenges were standing in the way.

“There are but a few people in the history of world rugby that can say they have contributed to shaping the game like Dick has.”

Rogers said he was an “outstanding contributor at all levels of the game”.

His passion for rugby started with his beloved Whakatāne United Club to Eastern Bay of Plenty Rugby Sub-Union, the Bay of Plenty Rugby, New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby over his 60-plus years involved, he said.

“Bay of Plenty Rugby are very proud and honored to call Dick one of our own.”

Rogers said his passing was acknowledged appropriately at the Steamers vs Southland game on Sunday.

All Blacks co-managers Gilbert Enoka and Darren Shand said in a joint statement their thoughts were with Dick’s family and friends during this difficult time.

“We constantly reflect on the foundation laid by those who have served this team in the past and Dick is definitely one of those key people.”

“Near on 73 years of service to the game of rugby, a legend in the Bay of Plenty rugby world. Rest in peace Dick Littlejohn you have earned your rest,” the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union post said.

Richard (Dick) Littlejohn achievements:

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union
1963-73: Union executive
1974-86: Union president
1987-89: Union chairman
1990: Honored with Bay of Plenty Rugby Union life membership
2008: Took over as Bay of Plenty Rugby Union patron.

New Zealand Rugby Union
1981-88: New Zealand Rugby Union council
1984-85: All Blacks Manager (To Australia, Fiji and Argentina)
1987: Director of the Board of Rugby World Cup Ltd
2011: Inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame
2014: New Zealand Rugby Union Steinlager Salver Award for outstanding service to rugby
2018: Honored with New Zealand Rugby Union Life Membership.

• Source: Bay of Plenty Rugby Union

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