Terry Morrison was stand-up paddle boarding at the mouth of the Maroochy River on the Sunshine Coast, as had become a passion for the 70-year-old, before he planned to go home and spend Christmas with his family.
But the energetic former NZ national 200m sprint champion collapsed on his board about 7.30am with four close mates pulling him ashore and working tirelessly to revive him, his wife Jacqueline Morrison said.
‘I am eternally grateful to Mark, Rick, Paul, Phil and Brenden for their efforts to save their friend’s [life],’ the 61-year-old said.
Terry Morrison (pictured with wife Jacqueline) played for the All Blacks in 1973 including a test against England
‘Terry’s friends got him onto the board and brought him to the beach where they immediately started CPR then the lifeguards came to assist. Twenty minutes later the ambulance arrived. Everybody – friends, surfers, lifeguard and ambos did an amazing job to try and save his life.’
‘It’s devastating and surreal, but he was a happy man in his happy place, living life in the moment.’
Mr Morrison is understood to have suffered a heart attack.
Morrison played four matches for the All Blacks in 1973 including a 16-10 test loss to England at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Former teammate Sir Bryan Williams said he was ‘saddened’ to hear his mate had passed away.
‘We played quite a bit of rugby and socialised together,’ the former All Blacks record try holder told The New Zealand Herald.
He added while he did not have the longest All Blacks career his athleticism and speed were remembered.
The couple (pictured) moved to Australia more than two decades ago but Mr Morrison was still a ‘proud Kiwi’
‘When you represent New Zealand in two sports you have certainly achieved a great deal. He was a New Zealand athletics champion and an All Black – that is pretty special,’ he said.
Morrison had moved to Australia more than two decades ago and previously ran rugby product company Silver Fern Australia though staunchly remained a ‘proud Kiwi’.
A ‘paddle out’ will be held on January 21 at Maroochydore Beach in honour of Mr Morrison.
Mr Morrison (pictured) remained active going on regular trips to the beach and hiking
Source: Daily Mail