Matiu Makiha

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Matiu Makiha

Club: Power House Cardies Rugby

Position: 13 & 11

5 Nations Team: Old Blacks (captain)

Matiu was born in Otahuhu South Auckland 23 May 1973. Comes from a family of 3 sisters and a brother. He lived in South Auckland until 1981 when his father passed away at the young age of 32. With only his mother to look after 5 kids alone it was then decided that the 3 youngest moved up north to the beautiful Bay of Islands in a little village called Te Tii.

Matiu played his first game of rugby at the age of 5 when he was living in Auckland in his earlier years. From the age of 6-8yrs Matiu played for his first official club KeriKeri Rugby Club till he was 12.

Matiu then moved to the rugged territory of the Hokianga to live with his uncle's and 7 cousins on the farm in Waima. This was Matius first year at Northland College where he started playing Rugby League on Sundays and Rugby Union during the week at school. His Rugby Club was Waima Rugby Football Club. He then made the local regional sides for the Hokianga U14's.

From there Matiu was selected for the North Auckland Vikings U14's which took part in the NZ U14's nationals. From 15-16yrs of age Matiu continued on playing for a number of representative sides and was also a very prominent Touch Rugby player making the Northland Open Mens and Nothland Mixed Secondary Schools teams at the age of 16.

In 1990 Matiu also excelled in Rugby League and that year made the Junior Kiwis Rugby League Development Squad.

Missing final selection to the Junior Kiwis U17's in the National U17's Tournament Matiu played along side well known Kiwi League legends at he time such as Ruben Wiki, Gene Ngamu, Willie Poaching, a very young Tana Umaga (before he switched to Union) and Stacey Jones.

After 2 years of playing league Matiu then went back to rugby union where he made it back into the North Auckland U18's and made the NZ secondary school boy trials along side his bro the late Stormin NORMAN BERRYMAN and other Northland stars in Todd Miller, Norm Maxwell, Vaugh Going, Milton Going and John Murray.

From there Matiu went on to Auckland from

1993-1996 where he played for a short time with the Weymouth Rubby Club South Auckland. During his short stay Matiu also lived with the late Jonah Tali Lomu at the humble home in Leaver Place Weymouth Manurewa. Jonah was still a school boy at Wesley College and was dating Matius first cousin Alain Makiha at the time. This had to be the major highlight of Matius rugby journey, not only living together but playing with and against him over the years so one could imagine the banter that took place in his uncles home back then.

From here Matiu went onto the mighty Waikato University in CHIEFS country to study a Bachelor of Arts in School of Education as a High school teacher. During his University years Matiu played for the Waikato Maori Team and played most of his club rugby at Fraser Tech and Hautapu Rugby Club with former chiefs midfield Damien Karauna, a young Richard Kahui & current Chiefs super rugby star Liam Messam.

In 2009 Matiu moved to Australia in Beenleigh Brisbane Queensland where he played for the Beenleigh Bears and worked as a Pole Inspector for Telstra.

Then in 2010 Matiu made the move to Melbourne. Matius first club he played for were the Wyndham Rhinos on the West side. He spent two seasons there before moving house due to work and found himself on the South East suburbs where he played for the Moorabbin Rams 2nds & 3rds.

After a couple of years spent there Matiu then went on to play for Power House which is where he currently plays now for the CARDIES.

Matius most respected and feared player was the late

STORMIN NORMAN BERRYMAN. Ever since schools boys rugby at a young age Norm Berryman was a special player. Blessed with the size of most forwards today but with the speed and pace that most underestimated. Great balance for such a big man and could step off both feet. Freakish skills only very few could master but most of all he was a good mate and very humble on and off the field.

The impact he had on me was immense as he always said to me in his cheeky Maori voice, "cuzzie, you just gotta roll with what's put in front of you, life doesn't wait for no one, you gotta go get it brother!"

Matius most inspirational and most feared Coach had to be his Kaikohe Lions Rugby League U17's Coach

Ox Nathan. He certainly was an Ox BIG in stature and larger than life. Under his leadership Matiu learnt the importance of training hard in everything you do not just in sport, but in school at work everywhere.

It was through his coach Ox that Matiu went onto high honors in both union and league and also became Head Boy at his local High School.

Matiu has been apart of the Vic Masters Rugby Community for the last 4yrs and tells us that he enjoys playing in the Vic Masters because it gives him a break away from all the goings on in the world. It allows him to continue playing the game he loves so much but more importantly Rugby in general has saved his life.

Matiu states that...

"When life gets tough sometimes and I have no answers I always look to my rugby family. For it has always been the only thing in my life that I know I can feel at home and be myself"

Matiu love's the Vic Masters and all who embrace it. It's a place where he gets to see all his mates and hangout and still gets to play the game he loves at the age of 45. Matiu says there's no better sport or place to be. Rugby to Matiu is more than a sport it's a community of many and a home away from home.

 

Ian Barker