Sean Wainui

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Sean Wainui
Date of birth(1995-10-23)23 October 1995
Date of death18 October 2021(2021-10-18) (aged 25)
Place of deathMcLaren Falls, New Zealand
Height191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight102 kg (225 lb; 16 st 1 lb)
SchoolMount Albert Grammar School Takapuna Grammar School
St Peter's College
SpousePaige Wainui
ChildrenArahia Te Ahikaaroa Turia-Fox, Kawariki Te Raiona Wainui
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014–2020 Taranaki 53 (75)
2016–2017 Crusaders 9 (0)
2018–2021 Chiefs 44 (90)
2021 Bay of Plenty 3 (15)
Correct as of 18 October 2021
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2015 New Zealand U20 4 (15)
2015–2021 Māori All Blacks 10 (40)
Correct as of 18 October 2021

Sean Wainui (23 October 1995 – 18 October 2021) was a New Zealand rugby union player. He played on the wing (and occasionally centre) for provincial side Bay of Plenty, the Chiefs in Super Rugby, and for New Zealand's Māori international side the Māori All Blacks.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wainui was a member of the Takapuna Grammar School 1st XV in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was awarded North Harbour's 2013 Māori Colts Senior Player of the Year whilst still in school.[2] Also an ex Takapuna Grammar Prefect and 1st XV Captain, Wainui represented New Zealand on the world stage after playing for the Champion New Zealand team in the Under 20 Rugby World Cup in Italy.[3] The team played England for the title, winning 21–16.[4]

Domestic career[edit]


Upon leaving school, Wainui was contracted by the Taranaki Rugby Football Union. In his first year out of school he was a part of Taranaki's 2014 national provincial championship squad. He was spotted by coach Colin Cooper and had signed with Taranaki at just 18-years-old after an impressive season, not only for his New Plymouth Old Boys club but for the Chiefs development side also.[5] Wainui made his debut for Taranaki in the 2014 ITM Cup competition, coming on as a replacement against Waikato.[6] In the following year, he recorded nine appearances, including 5 starts, and scored three tries for the province in Super Rugby matches. Overall, between 2014 and 2020, Wainui made 49 appearances for Taranaki and scored 15 tries.[7]


In 2015 he was signed by the Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders after impressing in the centre and wing position for Taranaki.[8] Wainui made his debut for the Crusaders in round one of the 2016 Super Rugby competition, starting in the outside centre position against the Chiefs.[9]


Prior to the 2018 Super Rugby season, he signed with the Chiefs. By the end of the 2021 Super Rugby season, he made 44 appearances for the club and has scored 18 tries. On 12 June 2021, in a 40-7 victory over the Waratahs during Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, he became the first player in Super Rugby history to score 5 tries in a single match.[10][11]

Bay of Plenty[edit]

On 27 May 2021, Wainui announced on Instagram that he had signed with Bay of Plenty for the 2021 NPC.[11]

International career[edit]

At the age of 19, Wainui was called up to the New Zealand U-20 team in 2015.[11]

Although the then 19-year-old Wainui had only played several matches for Taranaki, Colin Cooper, the Māori All Blacks coach, selected him for the 2015 tour to Fiji, playing against the national side, and ending against the specially made New Zealand Barbarians.[12] Overall he was capped 10 times.[11]


Wainui died at about 7:50 am on 18 October 2021, five days before his 26th birthday, when the car that he was driving crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga.[11][13][14] Wainui's tangihanga was held at Te Wainui marae in Whatatutu on 24 October 2021.[15]

Before the test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the United States at FedExField in Washington D.C. on 24 October 2021, a moment of silence was held in memory of Wainui's death. The United States team's captain, Bryce Campbell, presented the All Blacks a white No. 11 shirt with Wainui's name.[16]

A similar tribute was paid in 2022, when the Māori All Blacks performed their Haka Te Tīmatanga, just before their June 29th clash with Ireland. During the tribute, a green Irish jersey printed with the number eleven was presented to Wainui's widow and children.


  1. ^ "Sean Wainui Taranaki Profile". 1 August 2015.
  2. ^ "2013 ANNUAL AWARD RECIPIENTS" (PDF). Harbour Rugby. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Wainui called into under-20s". Stuff. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  4. ^ "New Zealand 21-16 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Young centre Wainui face of Taranaki's future". Stuff. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Preview: Waikato v Taranaki". Planet Rugby. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Sean WAINUI - Player statistics". Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Taranaki players sprinkled around Super Rugby sides". Stuff. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Crusaders v Chiefs Super Rugby Preview". Super XV. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Sean Wainui makes history with five tries as Chiefs end on high against Waratahs". Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e Sean Wainui: Maori All Blacks player dies in New Zealand car crash, BBC Sport, 18 October 2021
  12. ^ "Māori All Blacks announced for 2015". Māori Television. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Rugby: Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and Māori All Blacks back Sean Wainui dies in car crash". NZ Herald. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  14. ^ Eva Corlett (26 October 2021), Sean Wainui: death of New Zealand rugby player treated as suspected suicide, The Guardian
  15. ^ "Māori All Blacks and Chiefs star Sean Wainui farewelled at tangi today". NZ Herald. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  16. ^ "All Blacks demolish USA Eagles but rugby union's flag is flying in States". The Guardian. 24 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.

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