Proud man - Des Smith

Congratulations Des Smith

Congratulations to former OBHS teacher and Deputy Rector Des Smith who has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Years Honours for his services to rugby and community.

Des Smith hopes his New Year honour is recognition not just for him but also for all those hardworking people in rugby right around the province. Smith (72) has been a passionate supporter of rugby and the wider community all his life and said the honour was a tad overwhelming.

"I feel I’m just a part of the big rugby volunteer group in Otago and hopefully they’ll get a bit of a kick out of this honour like I have," he said.

Mr Smith taught and coached rugby at Otago Boys’ High School from 1968-94, including coaching the First XV, which was the top school side in the South Island four times, for 10 years and managing the New Zealand Schools team.

He coached tennis at the school for 12 years, culminating in winning the Dunedin men’s premier championship. On leaving teaching in 1994 he was employed in various roles, including setting up the Edgar Centre and managing the New Zealand Colts, Highlanders and Otago rugby teams. He was appointed president of the Otago Rugby Football Union in 2016.

In November he was also made life member of the Kaikorai Rugby Football Club, which he has been involved with for 67 years.

Smith was the Otago secondary schools regional sports director from 2006-12 and oversaw significant growth in sports participation in the region, before becoming the operations manager for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council.

In 2011 he was awarded the SportNZ award for innovation in establishing sports councils in secondary schools. Away from sport, Mr Smith has been involved with many community projects, including the Blueskin Bay library, the Wakari School pool, the Otago Rugby gym, the Te Rauone Beach breakwater and planning for the redevelopment of Logan Park.

He paid tribute to his wife, Raylene; his three children, Michael, Chris and Nicky; and his 10 grandchildren.