Sel Pearson is a hard man to nail down, especially when you’re trying to give him an award.
The veteran rugby league administrator was made an NZRL life member at last year’s annual meeting, but wasn’t available to receive it at the time.
He wasn’t that keen to accept it at last week’s NZRL Awards function either.
“To be honest, I had reservations about this award in the first instance,” admitted Pearson. “Then I spoke to a few people and they said I would be insulting Akarana for nominating me, I would be insulting the committee that recommended it go to the board and also the board for endorsing it.
“I didn’t want to do that, but I need to tell you that rugby league has done a helluva lot more for me than I have done for rugby league.”
Pearson’s list of rugby league accomplishments in more than 50 years includes:
- Auckland Rugby League chairman 1998-2000
- Auckland Warriors chairman 2000
- Auckland Rugby League special projects manager 2007-15, secured funding of more than $4 million
- Rugby League Development Foundation, completed 32 club facility reports for Auckland Council, $2.5 million fundraising
- Fundraising for construction of NZ Rugby League House
- NZRL chairman 2001-06, raised $10 million funding
“I watch a fair bit of club football,” reflected NZRL chairman Garry Fissenden. “I can’t recall being at a game and not seeing Sel there.
“I don’t know how he does it, but he seems to be at every club every week.
“Sel’s an amazing man, who has done a lot of amazing things – a lot of them are invisible, a lot are actually quite visible.”
In addition to Pearson’s life membership, NZRL took the opportunity to present four Distinguished Service Awards to administrators who had worked tirelessly to promote the game – Pat Carthy (Auckland), Graham Pitts (Northland), Gordon Gibbons (Auckland/NZ Warriors) and Carey Clements (NZ University & Tertiary Students).
Story by NZRL.