Pacific radio news

Family and friends gather for Jonah Lomu's unveiling

By Ruci Farrell -

The sons of the late Jonah Lomu clung to their mum Nadene as they delivered a tearful tribute to their dad at Auckland's Manukau Memorial Gardens this morning.

Nadene Lomu and sons Brayley and Dyreille. Photo/ PMN.

Former All Blacks Eric Rush, Joshua Kronfeld and Waisake Sotutu were among close family and friends who attended the unveiling of Lomu's headstone.

Rush says it's the final chapter to the rugby legend whose legacy to the game lives on long after he's gone.

"Today's important because it's our last chance to do something for him. Once the stone is unveiled, all you've got are memories and visits after that."

More than 100 former rugby colleagues and close family watched as Lomu's sons Brayley and Dhyreille unwrapped the large Tongan ngatu and fine mats draped over the headstone.

Jonah Lomu's unveiling at Auckland's Manukau Memorial Gardens. Photo/ PMN.

World Rugby Council member for Asia, Trevor Gregory, flew in from Hong Kong for the unveiling.

Gregory says Jonah was a significant rugby player of all time and ambassador to the code whose personality touched people on many levels.

"He's the only player that's ever been recognised worldwide. People in Asia still talk about him and when you touch people like that, it's incredible for the sport."

"He wasn't just a great rugby player, he was a great person. He would sign autographs till the last kid."

Close friend Sela Alo says Jonah was a classic storyteller with a treasure trove of bad jokes.

"This is about acknowledging the impact that he had on so many different people," he says. "His heart, his generosity was second to none."

Former All Black Jonah Lomu died of a heart attack in 2015 following a lengthy battle against kidney failure.