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Patrick Gower's exclusive interview with the latest All Black sensation

Newshub logoNewshub 14/09/2018 Patrick Gower
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Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi is our newest All Black, making his debut last week in the test match against Argentina.

And his whanau left no doubt they were proud of him, performing a haka in the stands. 

"Man I don't know really how to describe that moment, it was just a real proud moment and something I'll probably cherish forever," he says.

His dad, Te Paerata, partner Keely and father-in-law Thomas Wharerau, gave him a massive hug.

"He's a really emotional man, he pretty much drives what I do today. 

a man wearing a black shirt © The Project

"He always rings me and humbles me, I go home back to Rotorua and he is always one who rings me and says 'go mow my lawns' or 'go wash my truck' and I'm like 'OK then'."

He climbed the rugby ranks playing for Taranaki, then the Chiefs.

Then, finally, last week, his dream of wearing the black jersey came true, but the joy turned to grief when he heard news his nan, Bea Yates had died.

"As the team got named, I was  on high, and then I found out she had passed away and you get knocked back down to earth."

His name's been passed down through generations. A proud family man, his name reflects who he is. And he's had to fight for people to get it right.

Growing up at Lake Rotoiti, Te Toiroa initially learnt Te Reo, but he's now "re-learning" it. 

"It's something that us Maori take for granted. You grow up hearing it, but if you don't practice it, you lose it. I am at the stage of trying to regather it again."

He and his partner Keely are parents to son Thomas. Te Toiroa was still at school when Thomas was born, so whanau stepped up.

But the one thing that isn't a priority for five-year old Thomas?  His dad's job.

"It was quite funny last week, it was my debut but I asked my little boy Thomas if he wanted to come down, but he said no, he wanted to play in his final game of soccer. It hit me deep when he said that." 

No problem, there'll be plenty of other opportunities as the young All Black is just getting started. 


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