No13. Marty Banks
No13. Marty Banks
Marty Banks
Footy Legend

We shine a light on some of Aotearoa's best and brightest.
They shine a light on their favourite 3 Wise Men Clothing.

With an incredible rugby resume filled with multiple successes, as well as an eponymous Facebook fan page with a huge following - not to mention being first on the list of notable people from Reefton on Wikipedia; you’d probably forgive recently- retired professional rugby player Marty Banks for having a bit of an ego.

Truth is, you couldn’t meet a more humble bloke. In fact, he’s at pains to call out the original “Reefton Kid”, ex-Tall Black basketballer Phil Jones as Reefton’s finest sport’s export. Yep, this self-confessed “very fortunate country boy” has his feet firmly on the ground and his eyes firmly on his post-rugby future.

But let’s go back to Reefton - population 927 - where it all began, with goal posts in the backyard and All Black dreams. And where he got to play senior rugby with his dad, when he was fourteen. “Dad was fifty-something. I remember he got sent off in the semi-final of the local comp!”

“3 Wise Men chinos, merino and chukka boots are my go-tos. They’re perfect for down here in Dunners where we live.”

A move to Christchurch for his final school year saw the start of a fifteen year rugby journey that’s taken him throughout NZ to Russia, Italy and Japan. Russia? “It was an experience. The club was run by organised crime, and I was paid in cash in a paper bag just before I left. I didn’t bother counting it,” he winks.

Ok, Marty, favourite ever game? “Definitely winning the 2015 Super Rugby final against the Hurricanes; and winning the 2013 Championship final with Tasman at Trafalgar Park in Nelson. Heartland footy at its best.”

Fair to say Marty’s own heartland appeal, and his undoubted talent saw him become a fan favourite everywhere - and lead Tasman supporter Alex Malcolm to name a Facebook fan page after him. Today, The Legend of Marty Banks has over 112,000 followers actively engaged in footy and life banter. “I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but Mum loves it,” Marty says, “but I think any opportunity to get men talking is a good thing.”

Medically retired earlier this year after a niggly groin injury, Marty found himself unemployed for the first time. Embracing this change, he now works for Dunedin company Aitken Joinery Otago in sales. The irony is not lost on Marty that rugby opened a lot of doors and now he’s selling them. “Sales is about making a connection with people. And I don’t mind having a good chinwag every now and then!” he laughs.

A wedding to partner Michelle beckons next year, and he’ll be wearing a 3 Wise Men suit. “I bought my first one in 2014. These days 3 Wise Men chinos, merino and chukka boots are my go-tos. They’re perfect for down here in Dunners where we live.”

Clearly, it’s been a big life already, and one Marty is incredibly grateful for. “I was a young country boy that got to live out my dreams. Hopefully that can inspire people from small towns to go for theirs too.” Legend.

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