Hora Hora host Norm Berryman Memorial Tournament

By Tamati Tiananga

More than 500 spectators, participants and rugby supports from around the country descended onto Hora Hora rugby club fields, Whangarei  to watch six teams play to honour Northlands  rugby legend.

Eldest son, 19-year old Terrell Shortland-Berryman aka Mistah Man was overwhelmed by the turnout. In admiration of his late father, Terrell played for Hora Hora who made the final but went down to Vikings Rugby club 15-nil.

Terrell says, "To my mum, to my little brothers, to my sisters it's everything coming home, coming back to where we are from and for all these people coming to support us its mean. He would be loving it up there smiling down always."

Former All Black and New Zealand Māori player Ron Cribb says, "It's unfortunate that this is the situation but at the same times the positive is that it's brought all the boys back together to try help the family."

The former All Black and New Zealand Māori player died of a heart attack in June of Last year. Former teammates of the 42-year-old laced up in honour of the three-time Super Rugby championship winner with the Crusaders.

Former All Blacks and Crusaders tighthead Greg Somerville says, "He did a heap for us at the Crusaders. A lot of the Crusaders boys are busy at the moment so it's just good to get a couple of us up here to represent the Crusaders family and just to show appreciations for the times that Normy (Norman) spent with us."

The day which was organised and run by Hora Hora rugby club was a success with talk is the tournament will become an annual gathering. Former All Blacks and New Zealand Māori Lock Troy Flavell said Norman Berryman will always be remembered for his on-field skills.

"I was more on the receiving side of it as in playing against him in the Northland and North Harbour days. Just the talent, the huge talent on the rugby field and an even bigger person off the field."

Berryman wasn't only quick on his feet, his humorous nature also took many by surprise, he was a class act among friends and was very entertaining company.

Ron Cribb says, "Mate he was a character you know um the thing about rugby is obviously you got the game but it's off the field and the people you meet, the characters and Normy is up there you know, talk about entertaining."

Funds raised will go to his loving wife Lena and six children Twin Daughters Cairo, Kaya, Terrell, Tatiana, Laytarjae and Shyah. The event attracted politicians and familiar faces in Rugby including Labour's Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare and former All Black and rival, Blues coach Tana Umanga.

Umanga says, "Only someone like Norm can bring this group together and it's great that we could spend this time for Normy and his family."

Rugby Commentator and former All Black lock Ian Jones still remembers the first time he meet Berryman at the age of 18yrs. Jones played for the North Auckland side known today as Northland.

“He went out and I think he scored three tries. We beat Bay of Plenty for the first time in three years for North Auckland and he was the man from there on in and that's how you got to prepare bro, you have got to prepare like a pro," said Umanaga, "We just heard there was this big kid that has got all the moves and he was cutting everyone up in touch. That was the Legend of Norm Berryman in my mind and that's where it started for me. We came though the grades together it was either playing against each other and because we were vying for the same position and I think I lost out more then I got in."

The Berryman family will be attending King Tuheitia 10th year of his reign as monarch of the Kingitanga movement.  The family will join the Tainui- kawe mate ceremony – The formal protocol is the taking the departed person's memory home. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday 17th August at Turangawaewae marae, Ngaruawahia.