Mayor laces up and heads back to the rugby field


‘‘Mahe said he'd be back if I was quicker next time.’’

For a while there, it looked like any­body with a bone to pick about the pro­posed rates rise might have been able to set­tle it on the rugby field.

Porirua mayor Mike Tana said he was asked to join the ranks of two lo­cal rugby clubs but in the end he got an of­fer he couldn’t refuse.

‘‘I’ve been asked to join the par­lia­men­tary team which is some­thing I al­ways wanted to do.

‘‘I’ll def­i­nitely give them my best five min­utes.’’

He might still be tackle-bait for ratepayers but now they would come from the po­lice and army teams, he said.

It’s been 15 years since Tana laced up the rugby boots and he only lasted five min­utes in that game.

‘‘I got clothes­lined and con­cussed by a guy from Pe­tone and that was the end of that.’’

The 51-year-old has al­ways loved the game. His child­hood friend was Michael Jones who went on to All Blacks fame.

‘‘He went from be­ing my best friend to my hero.’’

Tana en­joyed rugby suc­cess of his own, en­joy­ing a stint of paid play­ing in the United King­dom be­fore he ‘‘got too busy for rugby’’.

Although it’s been a good 20 years since he played se­ri­ously, the fa­ther of five said he’s in the best shape of his life thanks to a spur of the mo­ment de­ci­sion made a few months back.

Form­ing a team with Olympian Mahe Drys­dale and Kiwi moun­tain run­ning cham­pion Dou­gal Thor­burn, this month Tana tack­led The Grand Tra­verse, Porirua’s an­nual mul­ti­sport event.

Tana ad­mit­ted the team’s sec­ond place rank­ing, with a time of just over five hours 20 min­utes, might be more due to the star power than his own con­tri­bu­tion.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally came last in the moun­tain bik­ing sec­tion. I got a flat tyre and didn’t bring a pump so I had to push my bike up the hill.’’

The race fol­lowed months of in­tense train­ing with Mana Cycle club - train­ing that of­ten had Tana vom­it­ing from the ex­er­tion.

It was on a bike bor­rowed from an­other com­peti­tor that Tana coasted to the fin­ish line but, de­spite his plac­ing, he’s de­lighted with his achieve­ment.

Asked if he was go­ing to en­ter next year, he was em­phatic.

‘‘Ab­so­lutely. Mahe said he’d be back if I was quicker next time.’’

Since form­ing a team with Mahe Drys­dale and Dou­gal Thor­burn for the Porirua Grand Tra­verse, Mike Tana, left says he is in the best shape of his life.

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