A special presentation by two great All Blacks to a promising Western Bay rugby player was a fitting finale to the Peter Johnstone Memorial Trophy Bowls tournament at Bowls Mount Maunganui last week.
Tauranga's Kaydin Budd, 18, was awarded a Maori Sports Awards RWC Rugby Scholarship by Sir Colin Meads and Bryan Williams.
The Outstanding Junior Maori Rugby Player award for the Western Bay region includes $1000 worth of sporting goods and the opportunity to apply through the Trillian Trust Maori Sports Awards for further funding.
"He is a good young boy. He is not only excelling at rugby but also in his education and he knows what he wants to achieve later on," Maori Sports Trust CEO Dick Garrett said.
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Budd completed his schooling last year at Bethlehem's Te Wharekura o Mauao.
Last season he and Te Hira Roberts were the first players to be selected for the Bay of Plenty Under-18 rep squad from the small Maori language school established in 2009.
It was a major achievement for the players but also tangible recognition of the outstanding work done at Te Wharekura o Mauao by the teaching and coaching staff.
"It means heaps for me as a Maori to be able to be recognised and all that at this level. It also means much to me to give some pride for the school as well," Budd said.
"There were only about 180-ish kids at our school and most of them are Year 9 to 10 so we don't have much to choose from for our [First XV] rugby team, so it means putting a bit of pride back by getting a few players up in the reps."
Budd is contracted to Bay of Plenty Rugby's Junior High Performance Academy based at the new High Performance Centre at Blake Park.
But there is much more to his skill set than winning lineout ball and hitting rucks.
He is a promising Shakespearean actor who has been selected as one of 24 young New Zealanders to represent the Young Shakespeare Company in London in July, where they will perform at the world famous Globe Theatre.
Budd was part of a groundbreaking performance by his Te Wharekura o Mauao group at the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington last year when they performed the bard's work.
More than half the secondary schools in New Zealand were involved and Budd was chosen from all in a group of 48 to attend a camp from which the lucky 24 to go to London were selected.