Vale legend of Touch Andrew Moke Timoti

Dec. 20, 2022 @ 22:00 UTC

International Touch is mourning the tragic loss of legendary New Zealand referee Andrew Moke Timoti, MNZM. Ranked from 2003 - 2007 as our game's best whistleblower and known widely as Rowdy will never be forgotten.

The international Touch community is in collective mourning following the sad news that legendary New Zealand whistleblower Andrew Moke Timoti, MNZM, has passed.

Federation of International Touch (FIT) Referees Commission Chair Ian (Matto) Matthew echoed the thoughts of many, declaring that Andrew known widely as Rowdy, was a passionate supporter of international Touch from grassroots through to World Cup tournaments.

Matto said, "Andrew is one of the most respected people in our sport. He was quiet, unassuming, modest and would do anything for his family and friends. 

"Andrew earned the nickname of "Rowdy" as a kickback for being so quiet. He will be sadly missed in our sport by many referees and referee coaches.

"Some of the lessons learned from "Rowdy" have been instilled in our referees and are a part of the referee culture in today's environment."

According to Touch New Zealand, for 30 years, Rowdy was a leader who "personified what it meant to serve with grace, humility and mana - whether it be for Rotorua Touch Association, Bay of Plenty Touch Association, Whakatāne Touch Association, Māori Touch NZ or his numerous roles within the Touch New Zealand Referee sector."

A Touch trailblazer, Rowdy officiated 62 international test matches and attended five Touch World Cups as a referee. At the 2003 World Cup in Japan, he was the first New Zealander to receive the ranking of #1 referee in the world. Before announcing his retirement, Rowdy retained this ranking at the 2007 World Cup in South Africa. In 2008, Rowdy became a member of the Touch NZ Referee Coaching Panel, and in 2019 became a member of the FIT Referee Coaching Panel.

In the 2008 Queens Birthday Honours, Andrew was presented with a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his services to Touch.

In early December 2022, the Touch New Zealand Board voted unanimously to present Rowdy with a Distinguished Service Award. Plans were in place to present this award to him at the recent Bunnings NZ Secondary Schools Nationals event in Rotorua. Sadly, Rowdy passed on the afternoon of this presentation. His whanau and loved ones accepted the award on his behalf.

"All the thoughts of FIT and the international Touch community are with Rowdy's wife, Te Meinga Timoti, and his friends and family. Rowdy was a true legend of our game and the refereeing ranks, and we will miss him greatly," Peter Topp, Director of FIT concluded.