Sculpture honouring ill All Black legend has lifted his spirits, says daughter.

Sir Colin Meads is battling another health setback and might be too sick to witness tomorrow's unveiling of a statue honouring the All Black legend.

Sir Colin's youngest daughter, Shelley Mitchell, has revealed the latest setback as her father's battle with cancer intensifies.

At 1.30pm a bronze statue of the 81-year-old rugby great, who is battling pancreatic cancer, will be unveiled in Sir Colin's hometown of Te Kuiti.


Auckland sculptor Natalie Stamilla was asked to create the artwork after designing a bronze of fellow ex-All Black Michael Jones for Eden Park.

Hundreds of people - including touring Lions fans - are expected to be in the King Country for the occasion tomorrow.

However, Mitchell has revealed in an interview with Tony Veitch which is set to air on Newstalk ZB today her father may not be in the crowd gathered in the town's main street for the celebration.

"He really wants to be there. He hasn't been that well lately. He is feeling a bit weaker and he has been concerned about making sure he's well enough to handle all the attention on the day," she said.

In an earlier interview with Veitch, Sir Colin revealed the unveiling of the statue would likely be his last public appearance as he confirmed he wouldn't be attending any of the Lions tour matches.

But it's now uncertain whether he'll be well enough to go to the ceremony on Monday.

"I hope it all plays out and that Dad can be there, but otherwise it's going to be a really neat day and [I'm] really looking forward to it," Mitchell said.

"If it's not meant to be, well, he just needs to look after himself. Fingers crossed he has the strength on the day."

Sir Colin swore he'd "beat the bastard" that was cancer in an interview with the Herald on Sunday in March.

But when he spoke to Veitch two months later he said his health had deteriorated.

"I've had more scans and [they were] not so successful... I'm having a bit of pain and that sort of thing. But I'm still fighting it, I'm going to be here for a while yet."

While he was a bit embarrassed at the attention the statue had attracted, Meads said he was also humbled.

Artist Natalie Stamilla is the creator of the brass sculpture of legendary All Black Sir Colin Meads Photo / Greg Bowker
Artist Natalie Stamilla is the creator of the brass sculpture of legendary All Black Sir Colin Meads Photo / Greg Bowker

"It's the sort of thing you don't expect late in life. I'm an old bugger now and I'm not keeping the best of health, and you sort of think 'well, why me?'

"It helps keep you going. It is nice. It's humbling. It's something you don't push for but when asked 'would you agree to it?' you feel you've got to say 'yes'."

Mitchell said her father wasn't outwardly emotional but the honour of having a statue of him erected had lifted his spirits during his health struggles.

"I think underneath he's chuffed and I think he's doing the best he can to be there with his health and that."

Although it was initially weird for her to think about having a statue of her dad in her hometown, she had become more excited about it as the date of its unveiling drew nearer.

"For us as a family, we are really proud of what Dad has achieved over his lifetime - his All Black career and all his community work that he did," Mitchell said.

She had seen photo of the statute and said Stamilla had done a great job capturing her father's likeness.

"I was impressed... I know she did a lot of research to try to make it look as like Dad as what we'd want in the main street. I'm excited.

"There's an amazing committee here in Te Kuiti that have put a lot of time and effort into getting this just so. They wanted it to be perfect and a great celebration for Dad. It really is coming together amazing and I think it's going to look great."

Listen to Tony Veitch's full interview with Shelley Mitchell on Newstalk ZB from midday.