Hard as Nails Keven Mealamu Has an Arty Side
The second most-capped All Black of all time tells the Independent how illustrating children’s books helps keep him grounded before big games, like the forthcoming defence of the World Cup.
Mealamu, 36, one of the hardest men to wear the All Blacks jersey, is also an artist. He has illustrated seven books to raise money for Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital over the last seven years.
Mealamu says art is a way for him to find balance during the intense lead-up to big rugby games. “It really is a de-stresser. Some people like to go to the gym and release stress that way. I think art’s another good way of releasing that sort of pressure, so I love it.”
Looking towards life after rugby, the former apprentice signwriter would “very much love art to be a part of it”. Art has been a significant part of his life, from his artist mother’s side of the family, before he ever picked up a rugby ball. “It helps me with rugby, it gives me good balance. Good way to get the mind away … outside the rugby realms.”
The rose tattoo on Mealamu’s right wrist captures his biggest inspiration. “That’s my family: my wife and kids. It was my wife’s birthday and I asked her what she wanted to get and she wanted to get a couple’s tattoo. So she’s got similar.” He looks at his arm. “Red roses is for that passion that I have for them,” he beams.
Mealamu will bring that passion between British white chalk lines in September and October as the All Blacks defend the World Cup. Before that they play Manu Samoa in Apia on 8 July.
Original article by Alexander Bisley, The Independent, June 26, 2015.