Sir Wilson James Whinerary was, in many ways, a man ahead of his time.
An outstanding Test prop, a legendary Auckland and All Blacks captain and a business leader.
"I think I became a good captain in my rugby days," Sir Wilson once reflected. "I'm not sure I was at the start, necessarily."
Schooled at Auckland Grammar, he played for six different provinces - including Canterbury - but made his name in Auckland. A mobile, athletic prop, he was like a modern-day front row forward.
"I think, in my heart, I was a loose forward, deep down in my soul," he said.
Sir Wilson played a staggering 77 matches for the All Blacks over a nine-year period between 1957-65, including 32 Tests and 30 as captain, with only five losses.
He remains behind only Richie McCaw and Sean Fitzpatrick as the most-capped All Blacks skipper.
Sir Wilson led the great team of the early 60's that took on mammoth tours of South Africa, the United Kingdom and France, and a home series win over South Africa in 1965 - his last Tests.
"We'd be away four or four-and-a-half months and our pay on those tours was 10 shillings a day - a dollar a day," he said. "No-one worried, that's the way it was."
He retired from playing in 1966 and went on to carve out a highly successful business life, serving on major company boards and graduating from the famous Harvard Business School.
Sir Wilson was knighted in 1998, not only for services to rugby, but also industry and the community, including a chairmanship of the Hillary Commission. He was also one of Sir Fred Allen's boys - one of the original rugby knights - and in the IRB Hall of Fame.
"I said to players I was with, 'don't question what I do on the field'," he said. "'I don't want to hear from you ... do it, because I'll take the rap if it's wrong'.
"But if you don't do what I ask you to do, then you'll take the rap."
Sir Wilson was rated by greats like Sir Colin Meads and Kel Tremain as the best captain they played under.
He's passed away just five months after his former All Blacks and Auckland mentor Allen.
"I'd like to think somewhere along the way, there was a young fellow or two that were moved to reach out and try harder for themselves to find a bit more in their game and character, and help them growing up."
A true captain and leader in every sense, Sir Wilson Whineray died aged 77.
Tributes flood in
Former All Blacks team-mate Malcolm Dick has paid tribute to the man he describes as one of the greatest leaders rugby has seen.
Dick played his first test in the black jersey with Sir Wilson as his captain and says he was tough, but fair.
"He was pretty demanding with what he wanted to get it right," recalls Dick. "We had a very successful tour, much of it down to his captaincy, and the fact that he encouraged us once we did it right - he was tremendous."
Dick says Sir Wilson's knowledge and passon for rugby has been vital for the sport, but it wasn't just on the rugby field that he made his mark. He was also a successful businessman, who Dick says was invaluable on the Eden Park Trust Board.
But it's Sir Wilson's leadership that stands out.
One of our greatest-ever All Blacks?
"Yes, he certainly was up there, I think," says Dick. "I think, from a captaincy point of view, I'd probably even make him right up there with the best of them."
"That's acknowledged by the fact he was knighted and, I think, the first All Black to be knighted, His leadership was superb."
Dick says the entire rugby fraternity will be feeling the loss of this All Black great.
Another with fond memories of Sir Wilson's contribution was the man who succeeded him as All Blacks captain - Sir Brian Lochore.
"I think, firstly, it was his presence. He had a long history in the game, he was a very fine person and he knew the game very well.
"I didn't expect to ever be an All Black captain, so it was a hard act to follow, but you learn all the way along and I guess I learnt from Wilson - some of the things he did, I thought were very useful.
"I followed him in the Hillary Commission actually, so I learnt from him in business, as well - he's been a big influence on my life."
One of Sir Wilson's onfield legacies was lending his name to a simple lineout play that was used for decades after he retired.
"He used to come around from the front of the lineout and we'd throw a long ball to the No 7 and flick it down to him coming round the back," recalls Lochore. "It's still there to some degree."
A perfect gentleman
Rugby writer Bob Howitt got to know Sir Wilson well while writing his biography "A Perfect Gentleman" and describes this as a sad day for New Zealand.
"He was one of the great men of New Zealand sport and New Zealand business too," says Howitt. "He was a very astute individual - he was a lovely guy - and although he was a natural leader and people responded beautifully to him, he was just a wonderful person.
"He's one of those dynamic individuals that after you've had a conversation with him, you came away glowing and feeling better for it."
In the book, Sir Wilson admitted leadership came naturally to him.
"He enjoyed it and people responded to him," says Howitt. "His record as a captain was great.
"He's quite phenomenal, when you consider he's been invested in the International Rugby Hall of Fame, the NZ Sports Hall of Fame and the NZ Business Hall of Fame - I don't think there's anyone else who goes right across the spectrum like that.
"As a rugby player, he wouldn't be too far from the top, but as a captain, he would be right at the top. New Zealand has been blessed over the years with a lot of great captains, but I don't know that there's ever been a better one than Wilson."