Rugby sevens legend Eric Rush has traded the footy field for the supermarket floor after buying Kaikohe's New World supermarket.
Kaeo-born Rush, who captained the New Zealand Rugby Sevens team to six consecutive world titles, took ownership of the store this month. He said he was looking forward to returning to the north and being closer to his childhood home and community.
Rush's illustrious sporting career includes playing for Auckland and North Harbour and 29 games, including nine test matches, for the All Blacks between 1992 and 1996. He represented New Zealand at sevens for 17 years. As captain, he secured six world titles in a row, won gold at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games, and took out the 2001 Sevens World Cup championship.
His off-field achievements include graduating from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Law in 1988. After eight years in the corporate world, he started in the supermarket industry in 2008.
Rush initially worked at Manukau's Pak 'n Save as the chilled foods manager before being accepted on to New World's trainee operator programme in 2009. He became an approved owner-operator in February 2010. Later that year he bought his first store, New World Browns Bay.
Eric and Raina Rush have five children and one grandchild, 1-year-old Ejay.
Kaikohe's previous New World was destroyed by a fire in November 2005. The $10 million replacement opened a year later.
A security guard leaving the supermarket with tens of thousands of dollars in cash was robbed at gunpoint in September last year. Four Kaikohe men have been arrested in relation to that incident.