Club man Aiulu recalls times with Jerry Collins
Fred Aiulu will never forget Jerry Collins.
Aiulu was last October honoured with a Porirua 50th medal, given to 50 people and couples during the city’s birthday celebrations.
The Ascot Park man won his medal for his unstinting loyalty and voluntary contribution to Northern United Rugby Club and the game in Porirua.
One of the big figures at Norths was All Black loose forward Collins, who died in a road crash in France last year aged just 34.
‘‘Jerry was a great man and the family would do anything for you,’’ Aiulu said.
‘‘I was always his taxi driver. He would always ring me up and ask for a ride when he came home to see family. I got to know him really well through the club and even though we weren’t related, he’d still call me uncle.
‘‘He was a hard and fast player, who was always training. The youngsters all looked up to him. He was an inspiration to everyone he met.’’
Aiulu said Norths was a wonderful club.
‘‘No matter who you are or what kind of player you are, you’re always welcome. To be part of it is thanks enough. But this medal is something I will remember forever.’’
Aiulu has been involved with the rugby club for more than 25 years and is now the assistant club captain.
‘‘I love the sport. We didn’t have it much in Samoa when I lived there. But I started playing as soon as I came to New Zealand.’’
A proud memory for Aiulu was being part of the group that organised the amalgamation of the Porirua and Titahi Bay rugby clubs. When Aiulu was presented with his award, someone told him that Porirua needed more people like him.
‘‘I just like being involved. I’m here if anyone needs me. They know where I am.’’
Fred Aiulu never expected to be awarded for his contributions.