Cyclone Relief in Hawke’s Bay gets an All Blacks spin

  • Brad Weber at All Blacks training

Putting a star-studded spin on cyclone relief efforts in Hawke’s Bay seemed a “natural thing to do” for former Napier Boys First XV player turned All Black, Brad Weber.

The 18 test halfback, recently named as injury cover for the Rugby World Cup squad has been calling his fans to arms this Super Rugby season, with a challenge for followers to match his donations to Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Cyclone Relief Fund.

To play his part, Brad personally donated $2 for every pass he made in Super Rugby – with 771 passes made during the season his final total donated is $1542. Launched on Weber’s Givealittle page, 195 donors have got in behind the fundraiser, taking the current collective cyclone relief total from Weber’s fundraising efforts to over $21k.

Brad is ecstatic so many Kiwis from around New Zealand heeded the call.

“I had an initial goal of raising $10 thousand but I smashed through that real quick and thought ‘I’ve got to rethink my goals here’. It’s been incredible to see so many people support the cause including fellow local rugby export Gareth Evans who donated his 50th cap jersey for the Highlanders, Ruby Tui, Paul Williams and Samisoni Taukei’aho. It’s been heartwarming to see these players help out where they could.”

Alongside his Givealittle page, Brad also set up two Trade Me auctions for rugby memorabilia kindly donated by some rugby royalty. Up for grabs was a 2022 All Blacks jersey fully signed by the All Blacks squad, and a 2019 Rugby World Cup Referees jersey signed by all the World Cup referees. Together, the jerseys raised over $1500.

Now six months on from the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and Weber still gets emotional.

“Coming back to play for the Magpies and seeing places I grew up destroyed and the eye opening effects it’s had on some people who are still struggling, this was my way of feeling like I am helping in some way. I’ve felt really helpless being stuck away with footy and unable to help physically on the ground with the clean up. I don’t want what Hawke’s Bay has been through to become yesterday’s news and if I can bring some awareness that people here still desperately need help, then that is great.”

Hawke’s Bay Foundation Executive Officer Amy Bowkett is humbled by Brad’s efforts.

“Brad contacted Hawke’s Bay Foundation soon after Cyclone Gabrielle, really keen to set up a fundraiser that would go back to his home region. We were thrilled to work with him to set up a long-running campaign and all donations that he and his fans have made have gone to charitable causes here in the Bay.

“His enthusiasm and tenacity for our cause is inspirational and we have no doubt that he carries these skills onto the field as well. As a proud supporter of Hawke’s Bay we wish Brad all the best for his international career and thank him for his support of our work.”

With 43 appearances for the Magpies and over 100 in Super Rugby, Weber will see out the remainder of the provincial season before heading to France in November for a three year contract with French team Stade Francais.