'Representing your culture is an honour' - Janelle Riki

By Regan Paranihi
Photo / NZ Māori Rugby League Facebook

Jordan Riki (Tainui) will be taking to the field in tonight’s match between the NRL Indigenous All Stars and the Māori All-Stars on the Gold Coast.

Following high school, Riki was picked up by the Brisbane Broncos, after landing on their radar at age 14.

He was signed to the club's top-side at 17 and now at the age of 20 he has been named in the lineup for the Māori All-Stars.

Riki’s mother Janelle Riki says as a whānau they could not be any more proud of the accomplishments he has made while being in the NRL.

“Representing your culture comes with responsibilities but more importantly it’s a huge honour. We know that there will be many of our young rangatahi watching this game and dreaming of their opportunity one day,” she says. 

Photo / NZ Māori Rugby League Facebook

The years of sacrifice and hard work have paid off, the proud mum says.

“It was hard and relentless but the opportunities he has now he earned, and so every bit of hard work and sacrifice was 100% worth it. I often used to ask him, ‘what won’t you do to get your dream?' The answer would always be ‘nothing’.”

Riki has been playing the game for years and this could be the opportunity he has been waiting for to break into the Broncos' starting lineup.

"There have been some challenges along the way but I've loved every second of it, I wouldn't trade it.  This is what I want to do, this is my dream to play NRL," he says.

Janelle says, “Hard work and unwavering commitment got him to this opportunity and so we know the opportunities for our rangatahi are right up there for the taking.” 

She hopes this will be the year Riki debuts for the Broncos top-side. However, as long as he is still growing in the sport he loves that is the main thing.

“They have an amazing bunch of young forwards at the 'Bronx' and it's pretty tough to earn an opportunity to run on but he’s had a strong pre-season and he’s done everything he can to earn a chance.”

Photo / NZ Māori Rugby League Facebook

“Whatever the future holds this season, he’s certainly started it well by being called up for the Māoris and we couldn’t be prouder,” she says.

The game kicks off at 7.10 pm NZT tonight