Rugby league is a game of tradition where fans have a deep respect for the past and the storied histories of the players.

So it makes sense that the first person to purchase a BeMarooNZ membership had a strong understanding of the history of the game and its stars.

A long-time rugby league supporter, John Kirikiri attended the Auckland Canterbury store signing during the QRL’s recent membership drive in New Zealand where he purchased a specially-created Be MarooNZ membership.

“The day I met Petero, Brent and Big Mal; it was Arthur Beetson's birthday (22/01/2015); so I thought that was a real cool omen,” John said. “So during lunch I wandered down to say g’day.”

The membership exclusively created for the New Zealand tour included a special edition ‘MarooNZ’ cap and additional benefits (online content, offers, emails, prize draws and presales from NRL).

Despite being a proud Kiwi (who is by default a Warriors supporter “unless they are playing the mighty Bulldogs”); John has a long history of supporting the State of Origin concept and was one of the earliest Maroons fans.

“I have staunchly supported the ‘Cane Toads’ since the 1980s; 1985 to be precise,” he said.

“Ironically, that was the year Steve Mortimer's New South Welshmen threatened a three-game whitewash and a young man mountain (Mal Meninga) kicked a few goals.

“We lost that series to the Blues. There was no My-Sky TV in those days, so we had to wait for the highlights package or reports on the back page of the daily papers, buried under a mountain of rugby and cricket coverage.”

In recent times however, keeping up to date with Queensland news has become much easier; with John crediting an interview he saw online on QRL.com.au with Maroon Membership ambassador Brent Tate as piquing his interest in becoming a member.

“I saw an interview online with Brent Tate and to be honest I really liked the MAROONZ concept,” John said. “It’s fair to say that NZ has a huge Queensland following as was evident during the Auckland Nines event. 

“I purchased a membership because I identify with the Queensland brand, history and it's values as do many Kiwis who are either living the dream from Surfers to Townsville, or picking sides in the ‘mate against mate’ arena from Northland to Stewart Island.

“My step dad (Charlie) was from north of Mackay and unlike most kids growing up – he never really went to school – he grew up cutting sugar cane which is an occupation that Mal and his Dad know all too well.

“I'm a great fan of Mal ... and now an even bigger fan of his legend after meeting him.

“Mr Abbott, give this Australian a knighthood!”

While he has never been to an Origin match, he is hoping to change that soon.

“One day ... after meeting Mal could be this year I reckon!”

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There are still a limited number of Canterbury MarooNZ Memberships available to purchase. This special membership costs $35 and features the following inclusions:

Canterbury MarooNZ Membership

  • One Limited Edition Canterbury MarooNZ Cap
  • Maroon Member newsletters and access to exclusive online content
  • Entry into the draw for exclusive prizes
  • Priority access to purchase tickets to the NRL Finals and other NRL Presales
  • Exclusive emails and offers from our Sponsors and Partners

You can purchase this membership and other membership options here: Maroon Memberships