|Full name||Keven Filipo Mealamu|
|Date of birth||20 March 1979|
|Place of birth||Tokoroa, New Zealand|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||111 kg (17 st 7 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
Keven Mealamu MNZM (born 20 March 1979 in Tokoroa, Waikato, New Zealand) is a New Zealand retired rugby union footballer. He played at hooker for the Blues in Super Rugby, Auckland in the National Provincial Championship, and the New Zealand national team, All Blacks. He was a key member of 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup winning teams, becoming one of only twenty dual Rugby Union World Cup winners.
The grandson of Samoan immigrants, Mealamu was raised in Tokoroa where his father, a body building champion, worked at the local timber mill. The family eventually moved to Auckland due to the decline of the timber industry. He is a former student of Aorere College, where his brother and former Manu Samoa player Luke Mealamu currently works as a social worker. As a schoolboy he played as a flanker for New Zealand Under-16s and New Zealand Schools before switching to hooker in 1998. After finishing school he worked as an apprentice signwriter in case his rugby career did not work out.
Mealamu made his provincial debut for Auckland in 1999 against North Harbour. He first played for the Blues in 2000, but had a stint with the Chiefs in 2002 – the same year he debuted for the All Blacks. Mealamu also made a fine contribution to the start of the All Blacks' 2006 Tri Nations campaign with two tries against the Wallabies during the first match. Mealamu captained the Blues through their 2006 Super 14 campaign, but was forced to relinquish the captaincy in 2007 due to his commitments to the All Blacks. In 2014, he made his 150th appearance for the Blues, becoming the first player in Super Rugby history to make 150 appearances for one team.
Mealamu made his debut for the All Blacks on 23 November 2002, against Wales at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. He was made test captain in the test match against Scotland during the All Blacks 2008 Grand Slam tour, as regular captain Richie McCaw was a reserve for that match. He was a part of New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup winning squad.
Mealamu was known for his hard-tackling approach to the game and it has occasionally made him the subject of controversy. He and captain Tana Umaga were involved in a controversial spear tackle on Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll on 25 June 2005. Following a test match against England at Twickenham on 6 November 2010, Mealamu was cited by the independent citing commissioner (John West, Ireland) for headbutting Lewis Moody.
The 2015 Rugby World Cup Final on 31 October was his last match as an All Black. He was one of six senior players who retired from International rugby after the competition. and led the haka for the All Blacks 31 times. He led the Ka Mate version 23 times and the newer Kapa o Pango version 8 times. He first led the team in September 2007 against Italy. In his final international test he led the Kapa o Pango haka before the final against Australia during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Mealamu is a skilled artist and has illustrated several books to raise money for the Starship Children's Hospital. A practicing Catholic, he and his wife Latai, whom he married in 2003, have two children.
- Knowler, Richard (18 October 2012). "Keven Mealamu to start for 100th milestone". Stuff. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Twelve Questions: Kevin Mealamu". The New Zealand Herald. 10 December 2013.
- "All Blacks profile: Keven Mealamu". The New Zealand Herald. 5 September 2003.
- "Big-hearted hooker misses out on biggest fan". The New Zealand Herald. 12 November 2003.
- "Rugby: The day 18-year-old Keven Mealamu ran at Michael Jones". The New Zealand Herald. 11 June 2015.
- "All Blacks: Mealamu re-signs with the Blues". The New Zealand Herald. 29 August 2013.
- Mitchell, John (29 October 2015). "New Zealand's famous five will leave lasting legacy after Rugby World Cup". ESPNscrum.
- "10 All Black hard men". The New Zealand Herald. 16 August 2013.
- "Keven Mealamu: New Zealand's hooker is hard as nails - but with an arty side". The Independent. 27 June 2015.
- "Henry defends duo over O'Driscoll". BBC Sport. 28 June 2005. Retrieved 14 November 2006.
- "All Blacks hooker Mealamu cited after England game". BBC Sport. 7 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- "All Blacks: Five reasons why New Zealand rule the rugby world". Fox Sports (Australia). 22 November 2015.