Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Veteran Sports broadcaster William Lose remembered on and off the field

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Former rugby international and sports commentator Willie Lose has passed away at the age of 55. Photo: Stuff
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Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

Tongan Rugby international and veteran sports broadcaster William Keith Lose is being remembered for his sportsmanship on and off the field, as news of his passing was announced today. 

The 55-year-old was born in Tāmaki Makaurau and grew up in West Auckland. Willie enjoyed a long career in both Rugby and broadcasting. 

He was described as one of the best players to have played for Kelston Boys’ High 1st XV. The former lock played for Auckland, Marlborough and North Harbour. 

While Willie represented New Zealand as a colt, he first debuted on the international rugby stage playing for Tonga in 1995, when they played against France. He also represented Tonga in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and went on to play for Yamaha Jubilo in Japan for 8 years. 

Off the field Willie continued his love of sport when he got his first job in broadcasting as a Radiosport host, more than 20 years ago. 

He continued as a broadcaster with Newstalk ZB sports, a commentator for the ITM competition, Super Rugby, Sky TV and was well known for his commentary with the World Rugby Sevens Series. 

In a 2016 interview with Stuff, Willie talked about his passion for rugby where he presented a series of Rialto Channel documentaries called, “The Ground We Won.”

“Rugby has been very, very kind to me. I owe my life and I owe my kids’ life and my family life now to the sport of rugby,” he said.

“Rugby has given me a passport to a whole new world. Without it I could be in jail. I could be anywhere.”

The Lose family have released a statement regarding his passing:

The Lose whānau would like to thank Karl Te Nana, Bailey Mackey and World Rugby boss Steve Jamieson for contacting us directly from South Africa this morning relating to the sudden passing of our brother Willie.

We ask that as a whānau, we be given time to process and work through our devastating loss and the logistics of repatriation of our brother, father, uncle, son home. We are awaiting details from Cape Town.

Thanks to Steve Jamieson who has spoken to the New Zealand High Commission, who will be heading to Cape Town tomorrow to help with the repatriation of Willie’s body to bring him home to Aotearoa.

We as a whānau are thankful to all Willie’s friends from around the world who have sent their condolences and support.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.


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