Great to catch up and reminisce about old times with Rugby League Legend Ruben Wiki.
We talk about our early years in playing against each other for our childhood clubs, Ruben with Ōtāhuhu and myself with Wainuiomata and then together with the Junior Kiwis in 1992.
He shares about signing with the Canberra Raiders and learning from some legends and immortals of the game like coach Tim Sheens and players Mal Meninga, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley, Bradley Clyde, Kevin and Steve Walters, Noa Nadruku, and many more. He speaks of his big brothers over there, Quentin Pongia and Johnny Lomax and how they looked after him and guided him when he was young. And how he had to stand up for himself to earn their respect.
He reminisces about his decision to come home to the Warriors and want to give back to the young players in his home town. And how his leadership style had to change when he became the spokesman for the Māori and Pasifika players as they struggled with the cultural differences with the Australian-born members of the team.
We discus Ruben’s ‘Plan B’, Wiki Workz Gym, that he started with his wife Santa, who’s been alongside him right from the start!! He also tells us about going back to school to get his Diploma in Sports Rec this year.
Ruben opens up about the struggles of COVID and how they had to find other work to keep things going during the lockdowns and how it affected his mental well-being. He’s now creating workshops and programmes through the gym for the youth and adults in his South Auckland community. He also lets us in on how his childhood memories brought him to become an Ambassador for White Ribbon.
An inspirational sharing of this legend's journey that started with the grind on the field and putting in the Mahi, what he had to do to get ahead and then using those same attributes in his working life and educating himself and others to continue to assist his family and his community.
A truly inspiring listen!!
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