Napier Old Boys' Marist rugby player John Taitoko is no longer on life support after collapsing during a game with heart problems.

After spending almost three weeks on life support and in an induced coma, last week Mr Taitoko was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit and into the coronary ward at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

The 28-year-old was playing Dannevirke club Aotea at Park Island on June 6 when he collapsed about 30 minutes into the first half.

A witness said CPR was performed on Mr Taitoko and that he was breathing when he was put into the ambulance.


The match was called off and the teams shared the competition points.

The front rower is the partner of Hayley O'Connor and father to their 8-month-old son.

Hayley's father, Mike O'Connor, said Mr Taitoko was "slowly progressing".

"We're just adapting do the situation, doing everything we can."

He said some really positive signs had been shown in Mr Taitoko's recovery.

"The support has been amazing, there are a lot of thanks to be said. The rugby and netball clubs have been a fantastic support."

Mr Taitoko has been part of the Marist Rugby Club for the past 12 years and is described as a loyal member of the team. A Givealittle page has been created to help the family at this difficult time.

Several people have wished Mr Taitoko the best in his recovery.


"So good to hear of slight improvements."

"You got this uncle John, we love you so much and you need to pull through."

Mr Taitoko was working full-time as a forester to provide for his family while partner Hayley is a full-time mum looking after their 8-month-old son, Jax.

All money raised will go towards helping the family with mortgage, food, bills and healthcare.

The page, "John, Hayley and Jax", said the couple were amazing parents to Jax and it was devastating to think of the tough times ahead.

The page has currently raised $4597 for the family.

Mr Taitoko recently posted to the club's website "TeamTalk" to express his gratitude and update friends and family on his condition. "I am well on the way to full recovery."

He will likely go to Wellington this week for an operation and rehabilitation.

"I am aware of all the help and fundraising efforts done by the club members and also the Clovers netball team and would sincerely like to thank you all for this but especially those who were here weeks ago and helped with the emergency response on that day.

"You know who you are. You saved my life.

"I am looking forward to getting back to the club rooms in the near future and have a beer with you."

-To contribute to John Taitoko's cause please visit: