Jonah’s widow Nadene has penned an emotional tribute to her husband that coincided with the seventh anniversary of his passing.
The global sports star passed away on November 18, 2015 at the age of 40 of a heart attack following complications of his kidney disease. His untimely death rocked the sports world.
Three days ago, Nadene, who is bringing up the couple’s boys Dhyreille and Brayley, said there was not a day that goes by that she and the boys do not miss him terribly.
In a Facebook post, Nadene wrote: “If only wishes came true, mine would be for us to do what we always did together and drive, it wouldn’t matter where, just as long as we were together... I know you would bring Rome-Eo to see us too! Even if it meant I had to pick you up from Heaven and return you back, I would. I’d only return you two because I had to. 💔”
“To spend one more moment with you, even if only for a short time back on earth, I know you would sort everything and everyone out that has ever done us wrong and remains too, yet would never be bold enough to take you on if you were still here by my side!”
“All you ever did was protect us and live for us. We were the best team ever and we had the work hard, play harder balance perfected!
“The heartbreak I’ve endured since losing you my love, a bond so strong, no matter where I go or what direction I take, you will always be in my heart and your sons Brayley and Dhyreille’s too, everywhere they go.”
Nadene, who works in real estate and is also responsible for maintaining Jonah’s brand and global image, said she thought with the seventh anniversary of Jonah’s passing almost upon the whānau last week, she was coping pretty well.
“I thought I was doing well, focusing on work listing properties, negotiations with another listing under offer and even launching merch in France to pay homage to you because so many of your fanfam all over the world adore you and miss you,” she said.
“Juggling my mumlife duties with everything else, then I had to talk about you and today marking the worst day of my life!
“Straight after I hung up the call two days ago, I broke down in tears and everything came flooding back, struggling to speak, to breathe and even keep working. I couldn’t even type I was so upset... people were counting on me to make deals happen for them. I sobbed and sobbed, I felt sick to my stomach to the point where I was gagging, all I wanted to do was curl up, close my laptop, not have to make any more work calls and sleep right through to get past this day, Jonah. A day I still struggle to acknowledge, but I knew I couldn’t sleep through it all, I just couldn’t!
“They say time heals and that it gets easier, but seven years today Jonah and I still have my sobbing moments where I’m left thinking, I shouldn’t be like this, I should be stronger and not an emotional wreck like I have been this last week... I wish I could visit you in Heaven Jonah, I really do; for you to hold me tight once more and to feel your love again.
“The last few nights I’ve cried myself to sleep and tonight will be no different.
“To everyone that has lost a loved one; love hurts, in fact love breaks us and my thoughts are with you all. To those with your loved ones still around, be grateful and cherish every moment together, because you never know when it will be your last!
“Jonah, I will always defend your honor as promised, continue to build upon your phenomenal legacy; to my last breath I will stand true and fight to execute your every wish and I will no longer be intimidated and bullied any more than what I’ve been forced to endure.
“While I sob with heartbreak, agony and sorrow today and many other days because you are not here with us; I know I will be stronger again soon, and with your sons by my side, we stand for you Jonah and everything you believed and wanted us to be!
“I miss you so much Jonah, we will never stop missing you!”
Jonah became the youngest-ever All Black when he played his first international in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days. Playing on the wing, he finished his international career with 63 caps and scored 37 memorable tries.
Sir Michael Jones, celebrating and honouring Jonah's Legacy reflects on his good friend Jonah while expressing his full support for the work Nadene, Brayley and Dhyreille continue to do building upon and honouring Jonah's phenomenal Legacy to help and inspire others.
Find out more how you can support the ongoing efforts of Nadene and the boys, let's all be part of Jonah's "Legacy for Life"!. - Sir Michael Jones
They say time heals but I really don't know when that time arrives....🖤
When I talk about you Jonah I still cry, when I read and write about you I still cry and today has been a day I have never acknowledged for the past 6 years until now.
While it will never be a day I celebrate, I cannot ignore what I have had to endure since loosing you Jonah and how much I've learnt along the way! Tears flood my eyes, my head hurts, my hands shake, my heart feels shattered and I can't stop the thumping through my chest. I feel sick and I just want to curl up with a blanket over my head and wake up back in yesterday!
I miss you so much Jonah and every day I wish you were still here, still here by my side to help me through as this 6 year battle still isn't over! I will not stop Jonah until it is, you made me promise....I'm over being taken advantage of while in my most vulnerable state of grief and heartbreak, enough is enough! 6 years is beyond bu#*sh₩t!
To everyone that has and continues to support the boys and I, I will forever be grateful and I know Jonah would be too, so thank you from the bottom of my aching heart.
To my parents, I've said it before and I say it again, had it not been for my mum, dad, sisters and sons, I would not be here today to do what I do. My parents have done more than some parents would and even grandparents would do too to be here for the boys and I.
Suicide is real guys, when we get pushed hard enough to breaking point we can't see a way out no matter how many people love us! I've felt that way only after loosing my Jonah. WHY, because things happened that never would have happened if Jonah were still here with us today!
Jonah, you and your boys are my strength, your boys are my driving force and reason I will never stop pushing so hard to rebuild our life...I'd give up everything I have for you to still be here with us, every second, every minute, even just one more moment together to feel our love and to smile together like we once did. 💔
I love you Jonah and will never stop loving you. Every person I strive to help and serve within my Real Estate career and carrying on your Phenomenal Legacy work together with your boys, I know you glide right by my side.... everywhere I go, every battle I face.
If only Heaven allowed visitors, I'd visit you every day.
Thank you for loving me.
Yours Truly Forever & Eva.
Growing up, David Kolibasoga looked up to Jonah Lomu as a hero.
As a Fijian boy, seeing someone he could relate to become a legend in the sport David also wanted to pursue a career in, was inspiring. Knowing Lomu had overcome many challenges in his life was both relatable and encouraging.
“I watched him quite a bit when I was younger, I wanted to be like him,” the Year 11 Raukura student said.
Today, the 16-year-old continues Lomu’s legacy after being named the inaugural recipient of the Jonah Lomu Scholarship, which is a full-fees boarding scholarship that will run for up to three years at Rotorua Boys’ High School, awarded to an outstanding student. Raukura is the only secondary school in New Zealand to provide the scholarship, launched by Lomu’s wife Nadene and his sons Brayley and Dhyreille.
“It’s an honour to be the first.”
Receiving the scholarship has been life-changing for David, allowing him to return “home” after his life was turned upside earlier this year.
David started his secondary education at Raukura in Year 9, but when his mum died he had to relocate to Auckland to live with his uncle in the middle of term two of this year. He was just 15 when his single mum died, losing his biggest supporter.
“Before my mum passed away she was like my number one supporter,” he said.
David said his mum wanted him at Raukura and he was grateful to be able to return to a place that “feels like home”.
“I’d rather be in the hostel here than anywhere else.
“I feel safe and comfortable and confident here [at Raukura] as well.”
Ultimately, David hopes to pass each year with Excellence and receive a rugby contract when he leaves school. He said his mum always knew rugby was his dream and not having her around anymore was motivation to succeed.
Nadene said David was a stand-out applicant for the Jonah Lomu Scholarship, having outstanding achievements academically and in sport and his compassion within the community.
Last year, David was one of two students praised by police for helping a woman in distress, escorting her to safety and alerting police.
“It is evident that David has an immense desire to achieve while striving to be a positive influence and helping those around him,” Nadene said.
“His positive attitude in aspiring to do better; to be better, shone through in his application and despite being faced with some very difficult trials and tribulations throughout his life, David has embraced them all, choosing not to give up but to keep striving to reach his dreams.”
Nadene said Jonah was the youngest in All Black History, the first global superstar who changed the face of rugby and continues to inspire people on and off the field and David now carried Jonah’s name and honour. She was confident he would represent the name well.
“I believe David will represent our Jonah Lomu name with mana and distinction.”
She congratulated David for his selection as the recipient of the Jonah Lomu scholarship and thanked Raukura principal Chris Grinter and the Raukura team for making this possible.
“I know Jonah would be honoured and I'm truly grateful to be part of helping David be another step closer to achieving his dreams and all that he desires.
“This is what Jonah and I were working towards; however I'm saddened he isn't here with us today to see how he continues to inspire us all." - Nadene Lomu
Legends Never Die. Jonah Lomu remains in the hearts of his fans across the globe as wife Nadene and their two sons Brayley and Dhyreille enhance his Legacy with an NFT Drop.
We’re excited to announce that on November 4, Blockasset’s Legends NFTs will be launching on DropZone! The NFTs are inspired by milestones in the athletes sporting careers and each trait is designed to ensure that the athlete’s legacy lives on through the artwork which is created by Dosbrak, who has collaborated with some of the biggest celebrities and athletes in the world; including Joe Rogan, Conor McGregor, UFC, ESPN and Mike Tyson to name but a few.
Legends is the world’s first multi-athlete generative NFT collection and include official and licensed NFTS from the following iconic athletes: the youngest in All Black History, Jonah Lomu, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Rooney, Michael Bisping, and Alexander Ovechkin.
“Jonah would be honoured without a doubt to be part of a lineup amongst some of the World’s greatest. To have his Legacy as part of something that I know his global fans would absolutely love too was important, especially because Jonah and I were always so grateful to his global fan family.
I spoke with Brayley and Dhyreille to see how they felt about their daddy being part of the collective and together we decided that Jonah being part of the NFT leGENds Collection would be pretty cool and a great addition to the sponsorships and scholarships we currently have in place.
Enhancing Jonah’s Legacy for all to enjoy and to continue being inspired by is a big focus of mine so it felt like the right move to make. After all, I do have a promise to keep to Jonah too.”Nadene Lomu said.
Jonah Lomu, Greatest All Black of all-time. Greatest All Blacks XV
On the date of his youngest son Dhyreille's birthday, Jonah has been named as the greatest All Black of all-time, along side Sir Bryan Williams and team mate, Christian Cullen by a panel of rugby experts and the Kiwi public.
In the final instalment of Sky Sport’s quest to find New Zealand’s Greatest XV, a panel of leading journalists and broadcasters – Grant Nisbett, Ken Laban, Rikki Swannell and Phil Gifford – were last week asked by The Breakdown who they thought were the country’s best-ever outside backs.
The panel were unanimous in their verdict that Lomu, the game’s first and only global superstar, and Cullen, the 60-test veteran who played for the All Blacks between 1996 and 2002, were New Zealand’s greatest left wing and fullback.
Their verdict was supported by the Kiwi public, who voted Lomu (84 percent of the public vote) and Cullen (79 percent) as the best-ever All Blacks in their respective positions on social media.
In doing so, they cemented their places in the Greatest XV ahead of the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Julian Savea, Ron Jarden, Mils Muliaina, George Nepia and Bob Scott.
At right wing, however, there was a three-way tie after the panel of experts couldn’t decide between Williams and Jeff Wilson, while the public backed the exploits of all-time leading All Blacks try-scorer Doug Howlett, who garnered 41 percent of the vote.
Former World Cup-winning All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry was called on as the “convener of selectors” to pick between the three players for the No 14 jersey, which resulted in Williams’ selection.
Regarded as a trailblazer of his time, Williams was spoken highly of by Laban for the impact he had off the field as a young Pacific Island player who toured South Africa in the midst of Apartheid during the 1970s as an “honorary white”.
“1970, a young, Auckland, Pacific Island player, and a law student who was doing his studies out of Auckland University, called Bryan George Williams, was forced to tour South Africa, along with three other players, who was declared an honorary white,” Laban told The Breakdown last week.
“In some ways, it’s a disgrace, but that image of BG in South Africa, at that time it was segregated, so those honorary whites weren’t allowed access to public transport, they weren’t allowed access to public health services – all of those things that come along with Apartheid.
“BG became a beacon of hope, a beacon for fairness, for justice, and for equality.”
Laban added: “He was so high-profile, he was so good, there was so much attention on him – unbelievable sidestep in the in-goal area to get that try under the posts in South Africa – but, in terms of the impact, changing the course of the history of our game, for me, Bryan Williams, the greatest right wing the game has seen.”
While Williams’ influence off the field was revolutionary, Lomu became an icon in his own right, so much so that many have argued that no rugby player has ever reached the level of fame or celebrity status that the late great achieved.
According to former All Blacks captain and Lomu’s ex-teammate Sean Fitzpatrick, no other player will ever reach Lomu’s star power.
“Jonah Lomu is the only global superstar we’ll ever have in rugby,” Fitzpatrick told Sky Sport.
“I don’t think there ever will be a player like Jonah where you can go to America or go to Brazil and they know who Jonah Lomu is.”
Tana Umaga, another ex-All Blacks captain and former teammate of Lomu’s, saw first-hand how revered he was by international fans.
“When you walk down Leicester Square with Jonah Lomu, buses stop, crowds start to form,” Umaga said.
“It was tough watching him go through that sometimes, and you kind of just get a gauge of how well-known is someone.”
Before he became an All Blacks teammate of Lomu’s, former two-time World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw came up against him at provincial level in the early 2000s.
While playing for Canterbury against Wellington, McCaw soon realised how formidable of a player Lomu truly was.
“You look at guys that couldn’t tackle him, and I was going, ‘Surely you’ll be able to [tackle him] if you just get in low’, and I remember the first day I played against him. I tried tackling him twice, and I got nowhere near him,” McCaw said.
“My respect for everyone that had been shunted off went up a lot, I’ll tell ya.”
McCaw added things became much easier for him once he became teammates with Lomu rather than facing off against him.
“To have a guy like that alongside you, you’re like, ‘Man, this is easy’.”
Ex-All Blacks fullback Laurie Mains was the first New Zealand coach to pick Lomu for the national squad, and he told Sky Sport that a positional switch from loose forward to wing kickstarted the career of arguably the best player in rugby history.
“Jonah, simply, was the most dangerous rugby player I think that’s played the game. He could run around them, he could run over them, he could run inside them.” Mains, who handed a 19-year-old Lomu his All Blacks debut in 1994, said.
“He played in the Counties sevens team, and I’d already been told about how great this kid was, and he was a No 8.
“We watched him, Earl [Kirton, ex-All Blacks assistant coach] and I, and we talked about it, and then, almost together, we said, ‘How would he go on the wing?’
“As a loose forward, he wasn’t going to be much bigger, and certainly not tougher, than a lot of the top international loose forwards, so his great ability would be nullified to an extent.
“But, if we were good enough to develop him as a wing, then he could be something the world has never seen. Fortunately, that’s the way it turned out.”
John Hart, another All Blacks coach who Lomu played under, said that had the 63-test wing not have battled nephrotic syndrome throughout his career, the world would have seen an even greater version of the player he already was.
“We never saw him in his peak. We never saw that. He was at 60, 70, 80 percent of his ability when he had his illness,” Hart said.
“If he had ever been able to go to 100 percent, so he didn’t have that [illness], what would we have seen? We saw a colossus as he was, but I think he could have achieved even greater things than we saw. That’s how good he was.”
Cullen, meanwhile, was described by Mains as the “most exciting fullback” he had ever seen during his seven-year spell in the All Blacks between 1996 and 2002.
All Blacks Greatest XV
1. Tony Woodcock (118 tests from 2002-2015)
2. Sean Fitzpatrick (92 tests from 1986-1997)
3. Ken Gray (24 tests from 1963-1969)
4. Colin Meads (55 tests from 1957-1971)
5. Brodie Retallick (86 tests from 2012-present)
6. Michael Jones (56 tests from 1986-1998)
7. Richie McCaw (148 tests from 2001-2015)
8. Zinzan Brooke (58 tests from 1987 to 1997)
9. Aaron Smith (101 tests from 2012-present)
10. Dan Carter (112 tests from 2003-2015)
11. Jonah Lomu (63 tests from 1994-2002)
12. Ma’a Nonu (103 tests from 2003-2015)
13. Conrad Smith (94 tests from 2004-2015)
14. Bryan Williams (38 tests from 1970-1978)
15. Christian Cullen (60 tests from 1996-2002)
We are excited to announce our Jonah Lomu Boarding Scholarship at Rotorua Boys High School.
Nadene Lomu, wife of the Legendary Jonah Lomu, continues to work on the projects she and Jonah were developing together prior to his untimely passing.
"As my promise to Jonah, I am determined to continue working on the dreams Jonah and I had to build on his phenomenal legacy, to help inspire our future generations.”
“Through various Jonah Lomu Scholarships as well as individual and team sponsorships throughout New Zealand and internationally, I have been able to assist in helping others move a few steps closer to achieving their dreams and being able to participate in something they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
Dealing with my grief and that of our boys, has been more than difficult but through Jonah's JL11 clothing brand, I have been able to continue helping others by giving them a piece of Jonah, in a sense. I know Jonah has and continues to inspire many not only here in New Zealand but around the world too.
When you put on your special piece of Jonah’s JL11 Collection, it's so much more than a t-shirt, a jersey, a cap or even a hoodie, it’s a reminder of believing in yourself and taking the chance to chase your dreams and never giving up, just like Jonah.
Jonah would often tell me that when he was younger, he would say to himself, "When no one else believes in you, you have to believe in you".
Jonah has left a phenomenal imprint globally. In Nadene’s words, “It’s pretty special having people from the teams I’ve sponsored, to Super Rugby players, All Blacks and even athletes in the fight sports, tell me it’s an honour to wear their Jonah gears and how much they love the clothing”.
“Nowhere outside of New Zealand did Jonah leave a bigger impact than in Hong Kong, where he continues to maintain Legendary status. Not only did he play in HK but visited the HK Sevens many times as an ambassador, which always created the ‘Pied Piper’ effect of how many people, particularly children, who wanted autographs and photos with him, for which he was always so accommodating. Jonah was always happy to be in HK bringing Nadene too, which we considered to be a second home for him. We all miss him but his spirit will always live on in HK.” said former HKRU Chairman Trevor Gregory.
Jonah’s special relationship with Counties Rugby is also recognised by the selection of two Counties recipients annually for the Jonah Lomu Scholarship.
Vice Captain Veveni Lasaqa of the NZ Fijian School Boys team of 2020 who were sponsored to play at the World School Rugby 7's tournament said “As vice captain of this year's NZ Fiji babas for me personally I would like to thank you for sponsoring us for this year's NZ Fiji babas team, it was a privilege and the boys were more than grateful for your support. Without it none of this would have happened.”
To celebrate Jonah’s birthday this year, Nadene and the boys are launching a new scholarship at Rotorua Boys’ High School with Chris Grinter, who was Jonah’s mentor when he was at school. Nadene will be involved in selecting the recipients of the scholarship, which will enable sporting opportunities for school students from year 11.
“Working with Jonah Lomu during his high school years has been one of the highlights of my career in education. I am therefore honoured to have been asked by Nadene Lomu to continue my special connection with Jonah through this scholarship.” Chris Grinter said.
Nadene also says, “Jonah loved music. Many people don’t know he particularly enjoyed programming music selections for an online music radio station.
When Raymond Bishop from the MGN-My Greatest Now Band approached me asking if his band could produce a song to honour Jonah’s life, ‘Jonah - Nothing Is Impossible,’ especially inspired by Jonah, I suggested Jonah’s birthday, May 12 would be a good time to launch the song worldwide.
I feel this is a great way to share his inspiration, especially with the challenges we all face daily.
All music lovers will know what I mean that when you listen to the song, you need to turn up the volume to a Jonah volume loud, the louder the better and you can't help but feel moved and uplifted. Everyone will have their own feelings when they listen to the song but for me it brings out many emotions, even ones where I feel I can take on the world......”
“The song and Jonah’s JL 11 clothing collection, are two ways we can contribute to helping others to not only chase their dreams but to believe in themselves and to be the best they can be. Something that has always been close to both Jonah’s and my Hearts, something I will continue to instil in our boys Brayley and Dhyreille” Nadene said.
To download the song, please go to Spotify or iTunes and enjoy.
For all other information regarding scholarships, sponsorships, and merchandise, please contact Nadene Lomu.
Jonah Lomu CMRFU, AUT and Jonah Lomu Street Wear Collection Scholarship.