The “Legends Panel” is a number of special individuals representing their heritage during the Formal Evening. These individuals have been in and around hockey their whole lives and continue to inspire the up-and-coming youth of today. We have invited the “Legends Panel” to take part in a Question and Answer session where they get the opportunity to tell us some of their greatest achievements in hockey and in life.
Caps for New Zealand: 122 & New Zealand Olympian: #304
Ramesh Patel played a record 122 hockey tests for New Zealand when he retired in 1986 after a career spanning 15 years (1972 – 1986). He was the first kiwi to reach 100 tests in hockey for New Zealand. He represented New Zealand at three World Cups and three Olympic Games – which would have been four, but for the boycott of the 1980 Moscow games.
Ramesh was part of the famous Olympic Gold Medal winning New Zealand team from the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games – an achievement that no New Zealand hockey team has been able to replicate before or since that special day – where they beat Australia 1 – 0 in the final. In 1990, the 1976 Olympic hockey team was recognised for their achievements by being inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1989, he was appointed chief executive of New Zealand Hockey and stayed in that role for over twenty years, stepping down in 2010. One of Patel’s strengths has been that as a former player he has understood the need for administrators to communicate with players. He is among New Zealand sport’s longest-serving administrators. Under Patel’s guidance, hockey has become a well-administered sport.
Caps for India: 133
Born in Mumbai, Jude Menezez grew up in India, rising through the hockey ranks and made his international debut for the Indian national team in 1992 against South Korea. Playing highlights include representing India at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as well as two World Cups in 1998 and 2002 and the 1998 Commonwealth Games. In 2001, Jude was part of the Indian team that won the Gold Medal at the Champions Challenge in Kuala Lumpur. In total, Jude accumulated 133 international appearances for India.
After declaring his international hockey retirement, Jude migrated to New Zealand in 2002. He has been coaching field hockey teams here at the highest level with highlights that include being part of the coaching teams that took the Auckland Women to back to back NHL titles in 2014 and 2015. Jude joined the coaching staff for the Black Sticks women’s team in 2014 and was part of the team that helped win the Gold Medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Tenga has been a stalwart of the National Senior Men’s Maori Hockey Team for the past two decades – primarily as a player but more recently as the coach of the national squad. After stepping down from his coaching role of this team last year, he was rewarded by being selected as a player and the team captain for this year’s squad after yet another outstanding performance at the National Maori Hockey Tournament.
A key figurehead in the success over the last ten years by the Waiariki (Bay of Plenty) teams, Tenga’s passion for the game of hockey is surpassed only by his passion about what it means to be Maori. As the Head Tutor of the Ngāti Whakaue kapa haka group from Te Arawa, Tenga represents his whanau at prestigious Maori events such as Te Matatini. He is also a teacher at Te Kura Kapapa Māori o Ruamata – a full emersion Maori primary school in Rotorua.
Caps for New Zealand: 157 & New Zealand Olympian: #637
Brett Leaver is a proud Fijian who has had a prestigious career in hockey. Capped 157 times as a Black Stick, Brett was second on the all time most caps list when he retired from international hockey achieving the mark when the national squad did not play with the frequency it does these days. Brett played at the 92 Barcelona Olympic Games and the 1998 Commonwealth Games and World Cup. An uncompromising and a highly skilful defensive player, Brett was recognised by being named in the World XI for the year for 1998 at the FIH 75th Jubilee in Egypt. He is the only player of Pasifika decent to be recognised this way in the sport of hockey.
These days, Brett focuses on giving back to his Fijian community by supporting young up and coming Fijian rugby players as they navigate the early stages of their professional rugby careers in New Zealand whilst living away from their home. Brett is also coach of the Inaugural New Zealand Pasifika Men’s Hockey team and this years New Zealand Heritage Hockey Tournament.
Caps for New Zealand: 42
Mark Leaver achieved national recognition playing for the Black Sticks a total of 42 times staring in the late 1980’s. Mark started his career with instant success with a rare win against Australia in a international event in Buenos Aires. His international hockey appearances were curtailed through health issues early in his Black Sticks career. However. Mark fought back to full fitness to re-join his brother Brett – who had then made the national squad also – in 1992 where he played a further four years for New Zealand.
Mark has forged a successful career since retiring from hockey and was one of the founders of the first Just Hockey store to open in New Zealand. He is currently a real estate agent for Barfoot and Thompson in Auckland.