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.