A Levin rugby volunteer will be rubbing shoulders with New Zealand's rugby elite after receiving a shock nomination for a prestigious award.

Irene Eruera-Taiapa had had no idea her name had been put forward for the 2018 Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year Award, which is part of the ASB Rugby Awards.

As a Levin Wanderers club delegate, Ms Eruera-Taiapa was supposed to be a nominator, not the nominee, so it came as a surprise to see her name was put forward as she would normally be part of that process.

She said it's very humbling to even be nominated for this award and it was a huge honour.


"You don't do it for the praise, you just do it," she said.

Ms Eruera-Taiapa had volunteered with various rugby clubs and organisations for more than 25 years, as Wanderers delegate on the Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby Union committee, she was also the union's Development Team Manager, Child Protection Advisor, and the Respect and Responsibility Advisor.

As part of these roles, she organised after-match functions, sat on various committees and did a variety of roles at her club, like setting up the changing rooms with players' gear.

The main reason Irene volunteers so hard, is because of her sons. Wherever the boys are, the mother follows, she said.

They are her favourite rugby players. She also said that all the praise goes to her sons and husband Walter, because of their support in her work.

She had always followed rugby, getting up in the middle of the night to watch the All Blacks, so her sons becoming involved with the Wanderers club came as no surprise.

Even though her sons aren't playing for Wanderers at present, as they don't have a senior team, she still did a huge amount of volunteer work for her "family" club.

This is because of the Wanderers whanau atmosphere, with fourth or fifth generation players, causing her to stick by them.


As part of being a finalist for the award, Sky TV visited Levin to film a profile of her, for the awards, in the Wanderers clubrooms.

She said she was disappointed that there was no make-up artist and the director told her not to worry as he would make her look good.

The awards will be held on December 13 at the SkyCity Convention Centre and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

* Lexi Rutherford is on work experience with the Horowhenua Chronicle