Duncan Garner: Tribute to a man who gave his time

Opinion 08/05/2019

You may recall I spoke on Monday about my friend, Kori Karena.

He was my son's Auckland under-8s Māori rugby league coach.

A colourful, loud, likeable, funny, hard, tough man.

Tragically, in his early 40s, he died on Saturday in a car accident.

We are gutted and last night we took our boys around to the house to say goodbye to Kori as he lay in an open casket in his lounge surrounded by love and dozens and dozens of people who kept coming through the house for hours and hours.

He had so much love because he's given so much of his time to people.

Especially to young boys who play rugby league.

He loved the game and he coached it well. But it's his time and passion he has for his boys that means the most. He gave children the gift of his time - not presents and material things that are pointless.

No, he gave them time, and advice, and made them better at what they do.

Last night I saw it, I heard it. Dad after dad, with their boys in that lounge. Tears, hugs and loss.

Because, who takes his role now? If it's true that it takes a community to raise a child and teach them, then Kori Karena more than did his bit.

He was a hero and leader to our dozens of West Auckland boys.

You gave us so much time, and we thank you.

Travel well, Kori. I will personally miss you in ways I don't yet know. We'll make you proud. And I'll do my best to look out for Biggie. Your son.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.