Gridiron dream lives on for Kātene

By Rahia Timutimu

American Football may not be as big of a sport as rugby and league in NZ, but for one Māori boy, it is. Te Puoho Kātene was just recently named in the NZ national squad, the Steel Blacks, the National American Football team a team he was first named in ten years ago.

It's the result that Te Pūoho Kātene has been waiting for.

“I'm humbled by the honour bestowed on me. It's an awesome feeling,” says Kātene.

Just this week, the Māori descendant was named in the National Black Steel side playing against American Samoa in July.

“Our first training is next week. I'm not unsure, I'm amped to go, but I'm very aware that I'll have a lot of work ahead of me.

Te Pūoho is 31 and an American football kid through and through. At 21, he first made this national team.

“My father played for Wellington about 30 years ago. I started when I was young. When I got to secondary school, I played alongside my dad and my brothers. That's where my love for the game started.”

However, he has a unique physique for the bashing sport. Standing at 5'9" and weighing in at a mere 82kg. He says despite his size, he can still bring down the big guys. 

“I may be short, and I may be small, but all you need to know is what to do on the field and your position in the team.”

It’s an attitude like this that will help him achieve his goals.