Rugby star Sean Wainui dies in car crash; All Blacks pay tribute

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and Māori All Blacks back Sean Wainui (Ngāi Tuhoe,  Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi, Ngāti Porou) has died in a car crash in Omanawa, near Tauranga, on Monday morning, the Bay of Plenty Times reports.

Bay of Plenty police issued a statement this morning saying one person had died after a single-vehicle crash at McLaren Falls Park.

Police were notified that a car had crashed into a tree at about 7:50am. A family member confirmed that the 25-year-old father Wainui was the driver.

He died at the scene. The Serious Crash Unit attended the scene, and police inquiries are continuing.

Tauranga City Council said in a media statement the park would be closed today due to the crash.

A St John spokeswoman said two ambulances were called to the scene.

Wainui played 53 games for Taranaki before shifting to Bay of Plenty this year. He also played 44 games for the Chiefs, nine for the Crusaders and represented New Zealand Māori since 2015.

In June he scored five tries in a Super Rugby Transtasman victory over the Waratahs, the first player to ever do so in Super Rugby history.

The All Blacks have paid tribute to Wainui, saying, "One of Rugby New Zealand's tallest totara trees has falled in the world of rugby."