The next generation of Maori and Pacific rugby league players have crossed the ditch to chase their dreams of NRL glory in the latest season of NGATI NRL, premiering on Friday October 9 at 9:00 PM on Maori Television.
This series focuses on the Toyota Cup, the national youth competition, and the pressure placed on rangatahi to seal a deal on a career in the NRL before they even know how to cook or pay a bill.
What have they left behind to get there? How hard are they prepared to work and, more importantly, will they make it in the toughest of league competitions?
“It’s so much hard work for the boys,” says producer Julia Parnell.
“They haven’t been in Australia for long, they might have left family behind and they have to deal with day-to-day life in a big city. And they are expected to work when they aren’t training – they’re not there to lie around.”
“It’s especially tough for the under 20s who often have two years to be successful or they potentially have nothing.”
Parnell, of ButoBase Film and Television in Auckland, which also made the recent documentary RIKI ELLISON: THE DEFENDER for Maori Television, says NGATI NRL is much more than just a sports show.
“It’s about hard work, dedication and disappointment, so it’s definitely a human drama series,” she says.
It is also a testament to the success of Maori and Pacific Island players who are now filling Australian league clubs at all levels.
Indeed, this series of NGATI NRL is brimming with fresh talent.
– Hailing from the small Te Tai Tokerau township of Motatau, Peter Prime (Ngati Hine) is a fish out of water in the bustling metropolis of Sydney, but he’s certainly at home on the footy field and is one to watch in the future.
– Former Newtown Jet Hohepa Cahill (Ngati Kahungunu) finished the 2008 season on a high, playing for NZ Maori in the Rugby League World Cup curtain raiser. The boy from Otane must have done something right because he started this season playing for the Melbourne Storm.
– Canterbury Bulldog funny man Sam Apouri (Te Aitanga a Mahaki/ Ngati Porou) is a rugby union convert who went on to represent the NZ Maori under 18s in rugby league. A second rower with real pace, Sam and his trademark afro are sight to see in action…
Join them and their talented team mates as they share what it takes to rise to the challenge in the toughest of league competitions in NGATI NRL, from Friday October 9 at 9:00 PM on Maori Television.
For more information, please contact Merilee Andrews