We have no problem whatsoever with Sir Peter Leitch getting a knighthood. The Mad Butcher, or Butch as he is known to all and sundry is something of an iconic New Zealander. He's a self-made man, he calls things as he sees them, and he is generous to a fault. In many ways, he IS Rugby League in New Zealand, and it was fitting that he was the Manager of the Kiwis when they recorded their sensational 24-nil win over the Kangaroos a few years ago in the tri-series- a job no-one else wanted. And as the Herald reports, he works tirelessly for a number of less-fancied charities, despite his own battle with cancer:
Sir Peter - "one of the most remarkable networkers in the country", in the view of former Prime Minister Helen Clark - has helped to raise millions as an ambassador for Allergy NZ, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Diabetes Auckland and Muscular Degeneration NZ.
His most recent effort, a dinner with master NRL coach Wayne Bennett in Auckland on Friday, raised $113,000 for the charities - the latest in his contributions since he began supplying meat packs and player-of-the-day prizes for the Mangere East Hawks Rugby League Club more than 40 years ago.
"I've always felt it important to give something back to the community, mate - always will."
And we also applaud the belated award of a knighthood to Sir Fred Allen. Fred the Needle is the first All Black coach we really remember. He left the game with a perfect record - 14 tests; 14 wins. He was a master motivator and a shrewd tactician, and was a devotee of the three P's in rugby - possession, position and pace. Sir Fred is a WWII veteran, and was a skilled player as well, captaining the 1949 All Blacks in South Africa. Even at 90, he still has a shrewd rugby brain.
So we salute these two new Knights in particular; both honours are richly deserved in our exceedingly humble opinion.