Sir Wayne Smith

New Zealand Legacy Award

Te Pou Tūroa o Aotearoa New Zealand Legacy Award is a prestigious new Award. It has been introduced into the Awards Programme in 2024, to recognise individuals who have showcased a lifetime of remarkable contribution to Aotearoa. Through their dedicated mahi, they have significantly contributed to shaping a better future, driven by their unwavering determination and passion. Their efforts have not only left a mark on our nation, but have also played a pivotal role in defining New Zealand’s national identity.

Sir Wayne Smith

Sir Wayne Smith KNZM is one of the most respected and accomplished figures in New Zealand Rugby history, boasting a remarkable career as both player and coach. Having played 17 tests and 18 matches for the All Blacks, he seamlessly transitioned to coaching, winning three Rugby World Cups. He boasts four Super Rugby titles to his name, earned both as an assistant coach and in the role of head coach. Then progressed on as assistant coach for the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015, and head coach of the Black Ferns in 2021, Wayne secured victories on the global stage, earning him World Rugby’s Coach of the Year in 2022.

As Black Ferns head coach, Sir Wayne did not lose a single test – winning 12 matches out of 12 – and successfully defending the women’s Rugby World Cup with a dramatic victory over England at a sold-out Eden Park. This victory signalled a seismic shift in the perception of the women’s game in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recognised for his contributions to rugby, he was appointed a Companion and later knighted in the New Zealand Order of Merit. Beyond rugby, Wayne served as a patron for the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education and is now a life member, providing support to those affected by physical disabilities. Wayne’s deep commitment stems from his profound connection to the organisation, which, much like the positive impact it has had on his own son’s life, continues to change lives for the better.