BIG DREAMS: Seth Keepa-Tauamiti with his mum Angeleen Keepa and little brother Noah.
DAVID WALKER / Fairfax NZ
Raised by a single mother in a rundown state house, Seth Keepa-Tauamiti’s dream of changing his family fortunes has arrived sooner than he hoped.
The 15-year-old rugby league player is the eldest of four children living with their mother in a quake-damaged two-bedroom Mairehau home.
Money is tight, but his family are determined to help Seth chase his National Rugby League (NRL) dream.
The whopping 104kg and 186-centimetre tall teenager has been offered a playing contract by the Wests Tigers club in Australia and a scholarship to the Gold Coast’s Keebra Park State High School – the former stomping ground of rugby league star Benji Marshall.
The three-year scholarship covers study fees, but additional costs, including $235 per week for a homestay, is out of the question for his mother Ange Keepa and father Lia Tauamiti, who remain a big part of his life.
So far, friends and family have raised $2030 on a Give a Little page set up by Ange Keepa’s employer, Jenny Thiele, but it will take thousands more.
“I’m determined to do well, I’ve got a lot to live up to now,” Seth said.
The Papanui club player leaves for Australia on January 21. At 15, he is nervous about leaving his family behind.’
It will take time, dedication and extremely hard work over a number of years in the future. My own 19 yr old grandson Pride Petterson-Robati ( pictured below) commences his fifth year, three years with the Melbourne Storm and his second with the Newcastle knights. He had a six year contract with the Storm, which covered his living expenses and school costs with a top school in Melbourne. He is in his last year playing in the NYC Under 20’s grade. He, like young Seth went over to Australia as a 15 yr old and played SG Ball Under 18’s. Pride has since transfered to Newcastle Knights. I’ll keep an eye out for Seth’s progress in coming years.