Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

New doco lifts the lid on Pacific rugby aspirations and reality

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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John Pulu | Presenter/ Reporter/Director

On the eve of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France a new documentary hopes to lift the lid on Pacific Rugby in a way never seen before.

Pacific rugby has been riding a high of late; Fiji’s historic win over England in its World Cup Warm up just last weekend comes to mind. 

But let’s not confuse that stellar result with the reality of the game in the Pacific Islands. At that level it’s a game of hard yards, sacrifice, and community. In a nut-shell, ‘Family, Faith, Footy – A Pasifika Rugby Story’. 

And that’s at the heart of the documentary screening on TVONE on Sunday. Made by Great Southern Television, director Fa’alava’au Jerry Tauamiti says it was important for players to tell their own story. 

“I feel as if, there’s always an opportunity for the players to tell the whole story; often we get them in little sound bites or media scrums,” Fa’alava’au says.

“What I love about this documentary and this opportunity was, it really is a chance for the players to speak and tell their own story themselves.”

Retracing the history of the game in terms of the great Pacific Islands All Blacks of yester-year, it looks at the challenges they faced, the impact of professionalism on the global game and lets us into the fairy-tale arrival of Manu Samoa onto the international rugby scene in that unforgettable rugby world cup effort of 1991.

In terms of the modern game, It re-examines important decisions key, high profile All Blacks have made to put ‘family’ before ‘footy’ and how they were vilified for their decisions.

It also puts into perspective the decision by World Rugby to allow former tier-one internationals to turn out for their country of heritage and how this is impacting on the Pacific teams presenting at this year’s world cup.

From the Pacific Islands, Aotearoa, the United Kingdom and France, the Producers present a plethora of international Pacific rugby talent for this film. 

“It’s been really, really awesome to have so many players that we approach say yes and that they wanted to be a part of it,” says producer Adrian Stevanon.

“And they had their reasons, like really good reasons for being a part of it, mostly to inspire younger generations to strive for better.”

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