Will NZ Rugby welcome a Pasifika team to the fold?

By Bronson Perich, Te Rina Triponel

Kanaloa Hawaii wants to be Super Rugby's first Pasifika team.

They have recently entered the USA pro league and if NZ rugby will have it, they want in on Super Rugby.

Former All Black Tamati Ellison weighed in, as he has been appointed Kanaloa Hawaii assistant coach.

"This opportunity has come up and spoke with my wife and it’s something we couldn’t turn down," Tamati Ellison says.

Ellison says that they want to build a strong of Māori and Pasifika, drawing from local Hawaii talent as well.

"I think the focuses will be on Māori and PI as well as looking at the locals on the island of Hawai’i," Ellison says.

"That’ll be the base of where the players come from."

His priority is to build a united team, with good systems in place.

"I’d like to think of my time in NZ Māori. There’s a larger kaupapa within that team," he says. 

"That’s something exciting for Māori and PI players. To have a kaupapa that understands all parts of the athlete and the person."

The former NZ Māori player says that the biggest focus in that team was to grow the individual player. He says he'll be bringing that mindset to Kanaloa Hawaii.