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The rugby league community has united to organise the Luke Tipene Celebration Day on Sunday, February 15 to honour the promising 17-year-old who died after an inner city incident on November 1 last year.

Four Vodafone Warriors teams and two from Luke’s club Glenora will feature in a three-game programme at the Bears’ home ground at Harold Moody Reserve in Glen Eden.

Glenora, the Akarana Zone, the Auckland Rugby League, the New Zealand Rugby League and the Vodafone Warriors have joined forces for the occasion.

Luke, who oozed enthusiasm in all he did, had been contracted by the Vodafone Warriors as an NYC player for the 2015 season and was about to begin preseason training with the club at the time of his death.

Vodafone Warriors academy and pathways manager Duane Mann, a former Glenora player himself, said the rugby league community had come together to put on a day to both honour Luke and to provide support for his family.

“Luke was just starting out on his dream of becoming a professional rugby league player,” he said.

“To lose someone so young with so much talent was devastating for everyone who knew him. We’re all united in making this day a special tribute to him.”

Luke’s uncle Sean Wilson said the family was overwhelmed by the level of support.

“We’re overcome by the way the rugby league community has worked together to make this day possible,” he said.

“The effort being made by Glenora, Akarana, the ARL, the NZRL and the Vodafone Warriors is truly amazing.

“We’re so grateful to everyone involved for making this day a true celebration for Luke.”

After an official opening at 10.00am, the first of the three scheduled games will kick off at 11.00am with Glenora’s Fox Memorial squad facing a Vodafone Junior Warriors Selection followed by a match at 12.45pm between the Vodafone Warriors’ NYC and New South Wales Cup teams.

The final game at 2.45pm will be especially poignant pitting a Glenora 17/18 side against the Vodafone Warriors Academy. Luke played for the Glenora side that won the Auckland Rugby League’s Under-17 championship last season and he was named the ARL’s Under-17 Player of the Year.

Apart from the three matches the Luke Tipene Celebration Day – a non-alcohol event – will feature other entertainment:

  • DJ Lenny will be on location on the police truck
  • Fans will be able to have photos taken with the Four Nations Cup and the Holden Cup
  • Former Vodafone Warrior Jerry Seuseu will MC the event
  • Flava will be in attendance
  • Mad Butcher sausage sizzle and other food caravans on site
  • Bouncy castles and other activities will be set up for kids
  • Some players from the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL squad are expected to be among the crowd to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos
  • Kapa haka performers will open the event at 10.00 am and will also perform a haka welcoming the teams onto the field for the final game
  • Auctions to support the Luke Tipene Trust Fund – ‘Helping Others’; a silent auction with items on display in a marquee at the ground; a live auction at the after-match event in the Glenora clubrooms (auction items will be confirmed soon)

Parking will be available at Duck Park via Captain Scott Road.

Anyone wishing to make donations to the Luke Tipene Trust Fund – ‘Helping Others’ can do so at:

  • Account Name | Luke Tipene's Trust Account
  • Account Number | 03-1509-0279555-00



Sunday, February 15

Glenora Rugby League Club

Harold Moody Reserve, Glendale Road, Glen Eden

10.00am        Official opening

11.00am        Glenora Premiers v Vodafone Junior Warriors Selection

12.45pm        Vodafone Junior Warriors v Vodafone Warriors New South Wales

2.45pm         Glenora 17/18 Selection v Vodafone Warriors Academy

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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