A Kiwi Great – Inspiring Young People

At the age of 75 when most people are sitting back taking it easy and maybe reflecting on their life, Rugby League coaching icon Sir Graham Lowe is certainly not one of them. He is as inspiring now as he was back in his rugby league coaching days, if not more so now with the wonderful work he’s doing with his youth programmes.
A man who cheated death several times through serious illnesses, he’s as busy as ever with his main focus in recent years being helping young people in New Zealand turn their lives around and find their purpose in life through the 12 dynamic Principles which are the core of ‘Kick For The Seagulls’ programme.
Kick For The Seagulls not only runs in the main community but has also been introduced into prisons throughout New Zealand.
 
Level Two Literacy and Numeracy Foundation studies are woven through his 12 dynamic Principles and the results and successes are truly remarkable. Sir Graham was recently awarded the Australasian Corrections Educator of the Year for his brilliant work.
Educating Kids
Sir Graham himself disconnected from school at 14 with no formal qualifications, so he’s operating from his own experiences and he’s doing it using sport as the main vehicle. You’d need a large book to chronicle this great man’s achievements both in the community and in rugby league, both of those inter-twinned in the way he operates with his youth programmes.
 
He was responsible for guiding the Kiwis to one of their greatest-ever wins, the 19-12 victory over the Kangaroos in Brisbane in 1983. The Kiwis hadn’t beaten Australia for 12 years and with so many greats like Wally Lewis in their team, Australia went into that clash as overwhelming favourites. However Lowie hatched a cunning plan and inspired his side to a massive upset 19-12 win which started a great era for the Kiwis.
Enjoying Another Kiwi Victory
Sir Graham is the only non-Australian to have coached a State of Origin team, such is his standing on this side of the ditch in Australia. He guided the Wally Lewis led Queensland team to a 2-1 series win over New South South Wales in his first season during a time in which he was battling serious illness.

In fact he nearly died on five occasions, surviving strokes, heart attacks, brain haemorrhage, thrombosis of the lungs, having to re-learn basic skills and regain his memory. His rugby league career was chock full of highlights in what was an amazing journey, a journey which at times was severely hampered by life threatening illnesses.
The King & I: with Martin Bella (left) & King Wally Lewis celebrating Origin Victory
He coached the Norths Club in Brisbane winning the 1980 grand final, Wigan to the Challenge Cup triumph and the World Club Challenge title in England, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL and was CEO of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. He coached Western Samoa, a World selection and is a former co-owner of the Bradford Bulls Club in England.
 
Ironically, given he dropped out of school disillusioned, Sir Graham was appointed an officer of the New Zealand Order Of Merit in 2013 for his services to the community in particular youth and education. He was Knighted Sir Graham Lowe for services to youth education on June 3, 2019.
Arise Sir Graham
He and his wife Karen’s twin sons Jack and Sam haven’t followed in dad’s footsteps but they are blazing their own trails. Jack is a champion ballroom dancer and Sam plays basketball and volleyball. In a story in the Women’s Weekly back in 2018, Sam describes how his dad gets emotional watching his kids perform, especially watching Jack dance. Watching Jack deliver a brilliant performance at the New Zealand Ballroom championships in Hamilton, Sir Graham yelled out “Go number 14” to which Sam, sitting beside him said, “Dad, shut up- your’e not at footy.”
 
We thank Sir Graham so much for giving me this interview where he explains his work with youth and retraces some of the highlights of his amazing rugby league journey. When I’d finished talking, I felt so inspired myself just having listened to what he had achieved, what he was doing for kids now and how totally humble he is. A great man, A great Kiwi.
 
We thank Sir Graham so much for giving me this interview where he explains his work with youth and retraces some of the highlights of his amazing rugby league journey.
When I’d finished talking, I felt so inspired myself just having listened to what he had achieved, what he was doing for kids now and how totally humble he is. A great man, A great Kiwi.

Interview & Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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