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Aaron Smith hangs out with fans on the new All Blacks bench seat in Paeroa. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

All Black visits Paeroa for bench gifting

For All Black Aaron Smith, it’s his wife, children, and close family who are on his supporters bench.
Growing up in Fielding, the famous halfback told The Profile during a visit to Paeroa on Sunday that his parents had always supported his professional rugby aspirations.
“I wasn’t too good in the classroom, so they harnessed a lot of my enery into sport, and I played any sport I could play at the time.
“They were definitely big marks for me on my life in the sense of setting goals and dreaming big.”
Aaron was in the Hauraki town to help gift an All Black bench to the community on July 23. Featuring the rugby side’s exclusive tohu, the bench is one of 26 being installed throughout the country in the hopes of bringing people together.
The locations selected were either geographically iconic, or were at the heart of the community.
Aaron, who has moved from Dunedin to Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula, said the macrocarpa bench – located outside the Paeroa Information Centre – was a “taonga”.
He hoped it could be used in helping people needing to have those “good or bad convos”.
“It’s very special what the New Zealand Rugby Union has done with it… it enhances the idea that rugby can be bit bigger than just a sport.”