Twenty year old Kauri Aupouri is a future contender in the NRL. He first cut his teeth playing for the Wellington club Te Aroha Eels, but this evening this Warriors' player returns to his home ground and plays in front of his family at the Westpac Stadium.
One of Te Aroha Eels' favourite sons is fuelling up.
Aupouri says, “My name is Kauri Aupouri. On my dad's side I am Ngāti Porou and on my mum's side I am from Te Atiawa.”
Last week, this up and coming talent made his debut for the Warriors U20s. This week, this Wellington boy will play at Westpac Stadium.
He says, “I'm excited to go back to play in front of my old coaches, family and friends.”
He isn't the only family member who will be playing at Westpac, his older brother Mohi Aupouri will appear in the curtain raiser, in the final of the local Wellington competition for the Te Aroha Eels.
Aupouri says, “He has been a big influence on me in my footy career if I'm off the rails and so is my family and to play at the same stadium after him will just be massive for me.”
Aupouri had a two-year stint at the Penrith Panthers but broke his ankle, then he returned home to pursue a childhood dream.
“I had an opportunity to come back to the Warriors and I just took it with two hands. Everyone wants to play for the Warriors and I just backed myself and it's all paying off now I guess.”
Despite all the reasons to celebrate, Kauri knows he has a job to do.
“Obviously the family side and playing back home is good but the emotion will come later. But once I’m on that field, I've got one job to do.”
Tomorrow they face the Dragons.