18 Feb 2016

Richie McCaw - New Zealander of the Year

From Nine To Noon, 9:22 am on 18 February 2016

Richie McCaw is keen to keep using the leadership skills he learned as All Black captain, but is still ruling out a political future. 

The former All Blacks captain - who led the team to victory at the Rugby World Cup twice -  was named the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year last night for his contribution to rugby and charity.

McCaw played 148 tests for the All Blacks during his 14-year international career. He was named the youngest member of the exclusive Order of New Zealand in the New Year's Honours list and now plans to work as a commercial helicopter pilot in Christchurch.

Richie McCaw, All Black captain for the 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign

Richie McCaw said he wants to continue to use his leadership skills. Photo: AFP

Speaking to Nine to Noon this morning, McCaw said he believed his skills as captain could be transferred to other areas.

"One of the reasons I kept playing for the amount of time I did is the leadership side of how to be reliant and how to inspire people to believe in something and achieve something. Some of the skills I learned over the years transfer into all sorts of different things, whether it's business or other parts of life. I'm really passionate about that. And down the track there might be opportunities to pass on some experiences, or even, from my point of view, learn more about different areas and roles."

But he said that as this stage, public service was unlikely to make the cut. 

"I have interest like a lot of other people about the way things are going, but I think it's probably not something for me. But certainly, in terms of doing your bit to make this country a better place by helping people, whether it's through charity work or whatever it is, those are certainly the things I'm keen to do."

Richie McCaw

McCaw said he wasn't trying to match the excitement of playing for the All Blacks. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

McCaw did admit to having an opinion on the current flag debate, joining fellow ex-All Black Dan Carter in backing the new design.

"I was a little bit unsure, but would be happy to see the new one. The silver fern is a pretty special thing for an All Black - you wear it on your chest, and that's what being a Kiwi is all about. The one moment that got me was when we were running out for the last Bledisloe and they had the flags, and the Aussie and New Zealand ones looked identical. I just thought it would be good to have something that distinguishes us."

Moving out of rugby

McCaw said he had loved playing top-level rugby for the past 15 years, but had to prepare himself for missing the thrill of running out in front of 60,000 people, and trying to find something that was going to completely replace it would only end in disappointment.

"But the way I look at it is, I had a great time there, but it's time to move onto something else and other challenges. There are things out there I want to get stuck into and I have the attitude of being very excited about it. And I'm lucky I guess. I've been able to achieve a lot of the things I set out to do and haven't any regrets, so I can leave that part behind and move onto the next one."

While his future was wide open, McCaw said he was keen to carry on with the charity work that helped him receive last night's award, including the iSport charity set up with Carter and Ali Williams to help get kids into sport.

He said that when he first became a professional rugby player, he didn't originally think too much about that side of the job.

"But you get exposed to that pretty early, because obviously the team is involved, and one of the great rewarding things is that you see how much impact you can have through not too much effort at all really. And you get to see people who are struggling for whatever reason and you can lend a hand, and that's something you get a great amount of joy out of.

"And I will say the experiences and the great times I've had and taken from what I've been able to do, you want to see a way to give back. And I think we pay some of those great experiences and been able to lend some time and some energy towards that, and that's pretty cool." 

Listen to Richie McCaw on Nine to Noon: