14 Jul Norm Hewitt: The Power To Change a Generation
Episode 28: Norm Hewitt
Norm Hewitt is a former New Zealand Maori Rugby team captain, All Black, and motivational speaker on sport, the community and personal fulfillment. Not to mention, the winner of the inaugural “Dancing With the Stars”.
Norm Hewitt is a remarkable man. Softly spoken, he embodies all things rugged and male but has earned an entirely different reputation since winning Dancing With the Stars with partner Carol-Ann Hickmore in 2005. Now Norm is a mentor to youth and an ambassador for many charitable organizations. But it wasn’t always that way.
Norm is a former New Zealand Maori Rugby team captain and All Black. In a long career from 1988 to 2001, he was a frequently a controversial and outspoken figure. However, his significance to New Zealand rugby as a player should not be underestimated. Norm was at his best a dynamic hooker effective both in the tight and in the loose.
In 2001, Michael Laws wrote Norm’s bestselling rugby biography Gladiator: the Norm Hewitt Story (2001). It has been described by the Dominion newspaper as “Remarkably readable, sometimes controversial and frank… …Hewitt’s refreshing honesty will appeal to a wide cross-section of New Zealanders. It will also be hard to beat as the New Zealand sports book of the year.”
A product of Hawke’s Bay, Norm made that NZRU’s representative side as a 20-year hooker in 1988 and until 1994 he played in 92 matches, including the wins over the 1993 Lions and the 1994 French. Between 1995 and 1997 he played 22 matches for Southland, moving there after the Bay were relegated to the NPC second division. Hewitt’s third provincial side was Wellington, for whom he played 31 matches between 1999 and 2001, the highlight being leading the side despite a broken arm in the NPC first division final of 2000 against Canterbury.
He was also a stalwart of the Hurricanes and New Zealand Maori sides, often as the captain. He played in 66 Super 12 matches and was in the Maori side for more than a decade. With his provincial, Super 12 and Maori matches plus appearances in various trials and national sides such as the Colts, the Divisional XV and New Zealand A selections Hewitt amassed a staggering 296 first class matches.
He made the All Black side as understudy to Sean Fitzpatrick in the 1993 series against the Lions and made the tour later that year to Scotland and England. Reserve through all the 1994 season, in 1995 he was in the World Cup squad finally getting some test time as a blood bin sub and then when Sean was spelled in the romp over Japan. Over six seasons Norm had 23 All Black matches including nine tests.
Enjoy this conversation with Norm as he talks about his life, his failures and his views on sport, the community and personal fulfillment. Norm is also passionate about health and safety issues. His talk “Fit for Purpose” is all about team, safety, and looking after each other.