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Seldom in the history of the game of Rugby League in New Zealand has there been a character such as Peter Charles Leitch (QSM) .
Peter Leitch was born in Wellington, left school at 15 and started his career in the meat business in Wellington as a ?butcher boy?. After a series of jobs in different butcher shops, Peter moved to Auckland and for the first year worked as a gravedigger.
I remember as a schoolboy hearing about this League lunatic who was opening a butcher's shop just up the road from where I lived and calling himself "The Mad Butcher".
At that young age I thought the man must be crazy as who the hell would buy meat of a madman.?
I used to play for the Otahuhu Rugby League club and this lunatic was forever talking up our neighbours and arch enemy, the Mangere East Hawks.
Little did I know that The Butch's reputation as a die hard stalwart of our game was in fact, just starting to bloom. An avid fan and principal sponsor of his beloved Mangere East Hawks, nothing was a problem for The Butch when it came to promoting the game of Rugby League.
Peter decided very early in his business that he should advertise through different media and he has successfully incorporated his love of the game with his business acumen of selling a sausage!. More time is spent (even now) talking about the state of the game in NZ and slinging off at the Aussies than what his weekly specials are.
In June 1991 Peter Leitch was awarded the Queen?s Service Medal for community services. This made Peter feel very humble, Peter has and always will be a community man, and he loves life and people and this reflects on all the efforts he puts into the community nation wide.
He has his own lounge bar at Erricson Stadium called ?The Mad Butcher Lounge? and is a regular writer in the Papakura Courier and Friday Flash.
Sixty minutes did a program on him in 2000, which covered his life.
The Butch's empathy with people less well off than most seems to know no bounds. He holds an annual Mad Butcher Picnic at the Ellerslie Racecourse and puts on a huge barbeque which is free to all and sundry. He usually puts the pressure on his NZ Warriors team mates to come along and help serve the food and ice cream and to generally mix and mingle with the 1000's of people who attend.
Peter has a keen interest in all sports clubs and also in non-profit organisations such as the S.P.C.A, of which he is a patron, and also the Dyslexic Society, a condition of which Peter suffers from. He is also Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation.
This is just naming a few. He has now formed with Suburban Newspapers a Trust called ?The Mad Butcher ? Suburban Newspapers Charitable Trust?.
He is best known as his strong following of the game of Rugby League. Peter is currently Ambassador of the New Zealand Rugby League and also the Honorary Ambassador of the Vodafone Warriors, and in the 2001 season he was named the Away Team Manager as a non-paid employee.
Peter is a very valuable member of the Warriors, we met up with him this year at the pre season game at the Gold Coast. He is looked on as a fatherly type figure by some of the younger team members and shares the confidence of the coaching staff, as well as the more senior members of the Warriors team.
He puts the Vodafone Warriors first and foremost when its footy time. As the 19th Warrior, The Butch will do anything asked of him by players or staff. The man is a credit to the NZ Warriors ongoing success.
Peter has made frequent T.V appearances and is quick to put The Mad Butcher to the rear and the sport he loves to the fore.
A man of great modesty and humility, Peter does not appreciate the focus centred on himself personally and subtly changes it to the sport or charity he is involved with.
New Zealand is a better place for having characters like Peter C Leitch helping us appreciate the place for what it is. I was lucky enough to go on a supporters tour with The Butch to this years NRL Grand Final. I have never laughed so much in my life.
"Good onya boy" - Leitchy