Ben O & # 39; Keeffe will be the only Māori judge on the Rugby World Cup later this year. As a young judge who still climbs the world rankings, he hopes that his inclusion in the Rugby World Cup Judges team will give him the experience of re-election in four years time.
Ben & # 39; Keeffe (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua) is one of the newly named 12 judges who will officiate at the Rugby World Cup later this year in Japan.
After retrieving the whistle for a decade or so ago, while a student at Otago University, Keeffe says, his choice is a culmination of years of hard work. "It was really 10 to 15 years of just hard work that came to work. Reflecting on that was great."
He will be the only Māori judge at the Rugby World Cup later this year, Ngāi Tahu's Glen Jackson has been overlooked for the tournament beginning in September.
He never thought it was possible when he started his judicial career and said he would just be involved in the game. He played rugby as a youth, with 1st XV rugby at Marlborough Boys College, but the referee was in the blood.
"I followed in my father's footsteps. He pulled down some rugby into Marlborough, where I spent most of my childhood, and he said," See you give it a ride one day "and I did that" 30 years – say O & # 39; Keeffe.
"When I started going through the levels and started making Super Rugby and Test matches, the opportunity or goal, or the desire to actually go to a World Cup, became a reality."
O & # 39; Keeffe made his Super Rugby debut in 2015 and achieved his international debut with the flute the following year when Georgia hosted Samoa in Tblisi.
An ophthalmologist (expert in eye diseases), he studied medical science and surgery at Otago, graduating in 2012, he says downloading the flute has given him many opportunities over the years.
"It allows me to travel around the world, see some amazing places, meet some great people, and also get involved in some amazing rugby games in the middle, surrounded by incredible players, and so many spectators give that atmosphere. And I make it call my job, "he says.
Keeffe hopes that more Māori will follow in the footsteps of himself and Jackson, especially players approaching the end of their game careers.
"I believe in rugby it's very common for players when they retire, husband and wife, Māori, Pasifika, they often choose to go coaching," says the Wellington-based judge.
"They may not realize that in fact, the judge is a role that you can get into the weekends to keep yourself busy, to keep yourself going and running around. And maybe there is also a career path."