Topic: Rugby

Friends and family remember the great Stormin' Norman

  • Auckland

A week after laying Jerry Collins to rest, the New Zealand rugby community has been hit with another loss. Former All Black Norman Berryman has passed away from a suspected heart attack in Perth over night. 

Stormin' Norman was 42 years old and had been living in Perth with his family after an impressive career on the footy field in New Zealand and abroad. 

Shock and disbelief have spread through the rugby fraternity.

New Zealand Sevens legend Karl Te Nana shares his thoughts and says, "Normy was one of these guys like Jerry Collins, you'd watch him on TV on a Saturday and be playing up North on Sunday or whatever.  He was that type of guy, the way he played the game is the way he lived his life, he smiled on and off the field."

Norm's sister Liza said they were told their brother suffered a massive heart attack overnight and the whole family is still coming to terms with the devastating news today, "I don't think it has sunken in yet, it's so different from at home, you're with your tūpāpaku you're with them until they lay down.  It's not the same here, you can't stay with them at the hospital, it could take them up to ten days until you get them back." 

Norm played one test for the All Blacks in 1998 and wore the Māori All Black jersey from 1999 to 2003.

"The Māori team was a team that he thrived in, he could be himself.  Normy was quite loose, he would do his thing but he'd do it with a smile, everyone called him the smiling assassin cos off the field he had this smile and had a good time but on the field he was lethal and one of the most talented guys I've played with," Te Nana adds.

Norm won three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders and played 107 games for his beloved Northland - a true legend in the Taniwha jersey.

Glen Taylor of Northland Rugby remembers Norm.  He says, "We've lost a favourite son of Northland, of the Taniwhas, a lot of supporters will remember what a fantastic player, he brought a lot of joy to a lot of spectators, he scored some great tries out here we'll all have fond memories of him."

Norm had just come back from Italy where he played in the memorial game for Jerry Collins.

Tributes have flowed on Norm's facebook page including one from his old team mate John Akurangi who he stayed with in Italy.

Norm's wife Calena Shortland and their six children are being comforted by the whānau in Perth but are still unsure whether Norm will come back to Aotearoa to rest.

Te Kāea bids you farewell as you traverse the path beyond the veil, leaving a mighty legacy which will be spoken of in years to come.

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