Following the sudden and tragic death of global rugby icon Jonah Lomu last month, the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) has established the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust to care for his two children.
NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol said:
“With the cooperation of those assisting Jonah’s immediate family and using our own professional advisers we have a reasonable picture of the family’s ongoing financial situation following Jonah’s passing.
“While the probate of the estate will take some time, we know enough to realise that the family will not be able to rely on any financial proceeds or ongoing financial benefit.
“It appears that because of Jonah’s well-known generosity, he had taken on obligations, financial and otherwise, to support others at the expense of himself, Nadene and the children.
“It is also apparent that his twenty-year illness and long dialysis sessions, multiple times a week affected him far more than people realised, including his ability to work and earn the type of money people probably assumed he was capable of earning.
“He was a humble and private person who chose not to seek help or be a burden on others in sharing his immediate challenges.
“Despite his debilitating illness he was unwaveringly optimistic and clearly had faith he would be able to continue working to meet these obligations and to provide for his family.
“Due to his untimely death, we all know this is sadly not to be, and Jonah is now unable to provide for his boys – for their development, welfare and education.
“As we heard in the days following Jonah’s passing he gave so much to the game and sport in general, to people and communities, organisations and charities, around the world. The tributes that followed, such as Eric Rush’s speech on behalf of his rugby colleagues, provided an insight into a man we are all proud of, who was a gift to the game and who really took rugby to the world.
“Jonah was a good man, a proud man and in our own way we within, and outside rugby, have all benefited through his deeds, on and off the field.
“We all know how important and special Jonah’s children, Brayley and Dhyreille, were to him. In supporting them we could not imagine a better way of honouring Jonah’s fantastic legacy.
“We believe that once people and organisations throughout and beyond the rugby world understand the uncertain future now facing the boys, many will join with us in wanting to help the big man in what is a time of real need, and ensure a positive future for his two boys.
“Jonah’s immediate family are grieving and finding his loss very difficult to deal with. They have not asked for this assistance. We are hopeful that with a positive response and messages of support they will take comfort and confidence in how much Jonah and his deeds meant to people and how much they want to help.
“For this reason, and with the support of Jonah’s closest friends and rugby colleagues, we have chosen to settle an independent trust with the sole purpose of providing for the welfare of Dhyreille and Brayley, and the education and pastoral care they both deserve and that he would have desired so much for them.”
The Trust will be managed by a team of highly skilled professional individuals who are not related to the Lomu boys or family. The Trustees will ensure 100% of the funds raised will go solely to benefit of Brayley and Dhyreille Lomu and their off-spring.
The Trustees are: Lawyer and Chairman of the New Zealand Takeovers Panel, David Jones MNZM, Investment Manager John Phipps, Deloitte’s partner Doug Wilson and businessman and former All Black Michael Jones MNZM.
Trustee Michael Jones said Jonah took rugby and the All Black brand to the world.
“He superseded anything we had seen before, and it is unlikely we will ever see the likes of again. He was an absolute rugby phenomenon,” said Michael.
“Jonah always said his greatest fear was not being around to see his sons turn twenty-one. We feel there is no better way to honour his legacy and all he has done for rugby and New Zealand than to provide for what mattered most to Jonah, the future of Brayley and Dhyreille.
“Jonah gave his time and support to so many charities, organisations and people around the world. There would be many people who would like to return that generosity, honour his legacy and help his boys in a trusted and meaningful way. The Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust provides that opportunity.”
For those wanting to support the Trust’s objectives and Jonah’s children, click here to make a donation.
Download the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust Fact Sheet
Click the link to download the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust - copy Trust Deed 10 December 2015.pdf
© 2017 Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust