All Black legend and business leader Sir Wilson Whineray dies
Businessman and All Black Sir Wilson Whineray died this afternoon, age 77.
Sir Wilson passed away peacefully at Auckland Hospital, where he had been for the past month, surrounded by family.
The great New Zealand rugby writer TP McLean declared ‘unhesitatingly’ that Wilson (‘Noddy’) Whineray was New Zealand’s greatest captain, says the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
Colin Meads agreed that as a captain Whineray ‘inspired fierce loyalty’. He captained the All Blacks 68 times in his 77 appearances between 1957 and 1965. The All Blacks lost only four of the 30 tests during the period.
Following his retirement from the game, Sir Wilson studied as a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University and carved out a successful business career.
He was awarded an OBE in 1962 and a knighthood in 1998 for services to sport and business.
In 2007, Sir Wilson became the fourth person inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.
New Zealand Rugby Union chair Mike Eagle says New Zealand has lost one of its great heroes and the rugby community has lost a much-loved patron and champion of the game.
Prime Minister John Key also paid tribute.
"Sir Wilson was a great All Black and may have been the greatest captain we ever had,'' Mr Key said.
"His business acumen was hugely respected as well. He made his mark at APN, the NZ Wool Marketing Corporation, National Bank and Auckland International Airport, although most of us remember his time at the helm of Carter Holt Harvey.
"It is fitting that the only biography of Sir Wilson was titled 'A Perfect Gentleman'. He was the rare breed of man whose modesty and humility gave no hint of the greatness he had achieved.
"I knew Sir Wilson and respected him immensely. This is a loss all of New Zealand will feel.''
Sir Wilson is survived by Lady Elisabeth, one son, two daughters and five grandchildren.