John McKittrick, right, with Haden Kose at Mahurangi Rugby Club in 2018.
John McKittrick, a long-time supporter of Mahurangi Rugby Club, has been made a life member of the Harbour Rugby Union.
It is an honour that has only been bestowed 12 times.
McKittrick has coached the Mahurangi premiere team and was coach of the U19s team when it claimed the club’s only North Harbour championship title in 2015.
In his younger days, he played for Warkworth RFC before leaving the area and ultimately coaching at Silverdale.
McKittrick coached several North Harbour representative teams, including Colts, B’s and Sevens, winning six national titles. He also managed North Harbour’s premier team.
In addition, McKittrick coached internationally, including the United States national sevens team, the Cook Islands national team at the Commonwealth Games, and at the Penguin International Rugby Club in Britain.
McKittrick also served as vice-president of North Harbour Rugby, and later as president.
He says he is “completely staggered” by the honour.
“It’s surreal taking it in. I started playing rugby when I was six and I’m now 70. I’ve spent 64 years in the game and love it,” McKittrick says.
Harbour Rugby chairman Gerard van Tilborg says McKittrick has made his mark on the career of many players.
“John has been one of those people who hasn’t been after glory. He has always wanted his players to improve, to enjoy the game and aim for higher honours where possible.
“Becoming a life member is a just reward for John who has put in a huge number of hours, experience and knowledge to the region.”