18th May 2012
I believe that it is important that we nurture and encourage the younger generation, particularly within our family circles. The home can be seen as the first classroom for young children and the parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family members can be seen as the first teachers and role models for the young. I would like to take this opportunity to share about a young family member of mine with the hope that his story will inspire and encourage you.
Wesley Seketo’a Tameifuna is my 14 year old Tongan nephew who is a current student at Saint Kentigern College. He has worked incredibly hard and continues to do so towards his goal of becoming a professional rugby player.
Wesley is the eldest of four children (as shown in the photo). He is the son of Melenaite and Ben Tameifuna (my 1st cousin). Wesley is a proud Tongan, born and raised in New Zealand, who has strived throughout the past few years to become the best that he can be as an aspiring professional rugby player. In 2011, Wesley became a recipient of a rugby scholarship to one of New Zealand’s prestigious schools, Saint Kentigern’s College. Wesley is a great example for all young Pasifika people and we are proud of his achievements to date! At the end of 2011, Wesley received the award for the Most Valuable Player for the Auckland Blues Under 14’s and the Best Back! He is the 1st Tongan to receive both awards simultaneously from his high school. In addition to his achievements in 2011, Wesley also achieved the fastest time for a Year 9 student (age 13/14 years) in the 100 metre sprints for New Zealand and in 7’s Rugby, Wesley was the highest try scorer in New Zealand for his age group! He embodies the spirit of determination.
New Zealand is home to the All Blacks who won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and this is a photo of Wesley dressed as a Tongan Ninja in the spirit of the Rugby World Cup 2011 showing his support for the Tongan rugby team. In 2011, Wesley was invited to be a guest speaker at a community event that I was a part of and with his permission, I am very proud to share his speech on this blog. Enjoy!
“NEVER GIVE UP” written by Wesley Tameifuna:
Malo e lelei, I want to take this opportunity to thank God for his blessings of love, guidance and family. I am the oldest of 4 siblings. I really enjoy the outdoors, especially playing rugby, league, and touch, probably becuase that’s the only sports that I can play. Before getting into sports I was negatively influenced by media and my peers.
In 2009, my dad registered me to play Rugby League for Pakuranga U12’s. I loved the contact, getting heaps of tries, winning and bonding with the boys. I was also selected to play left wing for PAKURANGA WALTER DIXON UNION REPS then on to be the only FORM 1 to play for the elite AUCKLAND EAST ROLLER MILLS RUGBY TEAM OF 2009. Shortly after, I was selected to play league for Tonga in the PIRLA CUP and received best Back of the 2009 Tournament.
2009 was busy but fun year full of challenges. I trained a lot with my Dad and younger brother and playing touch with older heads like the “THIRSTY WAILERS” helped me build confidence, making it easier for me on the field.
2010 came and I started training my butt off and eating lots and lots of talo, lu sipi, chicken and beef. I played league again for U13’s, and was again asked to trial for PAKURANGA WALTER DIXON UNION REPS under 55 kg’s. I was the highest try scorer leading up to tournament and I was so sure this was my year but there was only one problem… I couldn’t make the weight!! 8 weeks had past, the tournament already started and although I lost 9 kg’s, it still wasn’t enough. I was sad and frustrated that I couldn’t play in the tournament and felt that I had failed and let my team mates down. But it’s funny how God works.
I was heading towards the locker rooms where a man was holding an Auckland jersey in his hand, he said, “So you’re the fellow that didn’t make the weight aye?” I said “yeah” then he said “You know everything happens for a reason” and then he threw me the Auckland jersey and walked away saying “Follow me”. I was like “Thank God”!!! I was then led to the locker rooms where the open grade Bill McLaren team was and they quickly geared me up. We made it to the finals and I received player of the match!
I was fortunate to be asked to trial for Auckland Roller Mills for the 2nd year in a row though the target weight was again 55 kg’s. I tried and tried to make the weight, running and eating carrots, but again fell short. My dad and the coaches decided to pull the plug on the weight loss as I had no more fat to lose, and I was struggling to get below 60 kg. There were tears all around because this may have been my last shot, and the dream of getting a rugby scholarship was slowly fading away. I remember my Grandpa picked me up from school and we were driving past Saint Kentigern’s College. He said to me “You know son, this is the school I want you to go to”. I was surprised. From there, I continued to play club league while applied to various colleges for 2011. We were very fortunate to have a meeting with Saint Kentigern’s college in September 2010 and within a week everything was confirmed.
One of the greatest athletes of all time, Michael Jordan said, “TO LEARN TO SUCCEED, YOU MUST FIRST LEARN TO FAIL”.
My dad is probably the whole reason why I’m at Saint Kentigern’s this year and he always pushes me to go for my goals and tells me to keep going until you know you can’t go anymore. Dad pushes me when I train, he pushes me when I’m studying, and he pushes me with everything I want to do with my life. My Mum, she pushes me too but it’s a lot scarier! She also reminds me who I am and where I come from. They both spend a huge amount of time and effort on my and I thank them very much for being there. I would also like to give a Special thanks to my Grandparents, Aunty Maryanne Pale and My God Father Manase Lua for everything. I love you all.
Even though I received a rugby scholarship from Saint Kentigern’s, I realise that the hard work starts now, in the books and on the field! Set your goals and dreams and even though you fall off track you get back up and keep on going for it, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES! I’m the oldest of all the children in the Tameifuna generation so I’m trying my best to set an example for my family and hope the Lord is proud of what I’m trying to achieve and who I want to be in the future.
Jonah Lomu is one my role model’s and I look up to him because I know he was the best winger in rugby history. I want to be better than him though. I know it sounds impossible but to me “IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING”.
The motto for Saint Kentigern’s College is simple but powerful: “Fides Servanda Est” it means “THE FAITH MUST BE KEPT”.
I challenge all you parents to never give up on your children’s dreams and hopes. I would also like to say to you kids and young people, to NEVER GIVE UP on your hopes and dreams too!
Sending out a huge CONGRATULATIONS to you Wes for your achievements to date! Continue to be a shining example in 2012 to those who are younger than you and always remember to put God first! You make our family so proud! ‘Ofa lahi atu, Aunty Maryanne Pale xox