Samoa and the AFL mourn loss of sporting great
One of Samoa’s iconic rugby players in Wellington and Samoan businessman Aiolupotea Hennie Tonuu died on Tuesday night.
Regarded by team-mates, opponents, officials and Wellington fans as the biggest and most feared halfback of his generation.
Hennie also made his mark off the field when he and wife Pafuti opened up Hennie's Hotel and Sports Bar 12 years ago this September at Fugalei.
Just last week, Hennie woke up in time to view Manu Samoa 7s historic win over England hailing it as one of Samoan rugby’s greatest achievements. A man known for his off the field humility and behind the scenes donations to sports bodies, players and administrators, he forged a reservoir for Samoa’s sports-mad community when he and Pafuti built Hennie’s Sports Bar (earlier called JT’s after youngest brother and All Black halfback Junior Tonuu).
0000000001_Hennie.gif" border="0" title="Samoan businessman Aiolupotea Hennie Tonuu died on Tuesday night." align="left" />Although bashful and shy of the limelight, he did create and front the very popular TV3 segment ‘Hennie’s Happy Hour’ with close friends Brownie (Rod Brown), Burnsie (Mark Burns), and Siddie (Sid Russell) on Sports Centre.
The programme known for the banter and camaraderie between the die-hard rugby fanatics had international exposure when All Blacks Dan Carter, Ali Williams and Maa Nonu taped exclusive segments specifically for Hennie’s Happy Hour which were shown on TV3.
His untimely passing has shocked the sports and business communities. Already news of that shock has hit New Zealand with friends, colleagues and opponents inundating the Tonu’u family residence in Wellington.
Your Samoa Observer has gained general details for his funeral arrangements that will be confirmed once family arrive. However, there will be a family service penciled for Thursday next week touted to be held at Hennie’s Bar with his funeral service Friday morning. Details will be made known by the family.
For more details the family can be contacted on 7775043 or 22221.