Warren Gatland titled Ambassador of Hamilton
Framed by the tight confines of the council debating chamber, some of the city's brightest rugby talent gave a rousing tribute to Hamilton's favourite son.
Warren Gatland was awarded the honorary title Ambassador of Hamilton at a special city council meeting yesterday.
Friends, family and admirers watched from the public gallery. They included members of Hamilton Boys' High School's 1st XV who later performed a stirring haka for the Wales coach.
Gatland is an old boy of the school and his son Bryn was a member of the school's all-conquering 1st XV last year.
Gatland said the honorary ambassadorship was a "huge honour" for him and his family and he spoke at length about his pride in representing his home city overseas.
"I'm very proud about where I do come from. In a lot of ways Hamilton reflects me and my personality and character," Gatland said.
"Because it's about sometimes not always getting the recognition but having to fight hard for it and working hard for that success."
Gatland is the second person to be awarded the honorary city ambassadorship.
Anglican Archbishop Sir David Moxon was awarded the title last year.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said Gatland was a successful rugby player who had left his mark on the sport as a coach.
Gatland was appointed coach of the Welsh rugby team in 2007 and had gone on to win three Six Nations Championships.
He also coached the British and Irish Lions to a series victory against Australia in 2012.
"Even though it's not Kiwi, it's fantastic," Hardaker said, adding the honorary ambassadorship was a reflection of the city's pride in Gatland. "For us, the people of Hamilton, your home town, it's us saying well done, you do us proud and we wanted to recognise that."