Tuturu whakamaua kia tina!

Tuturu whakamaua kia tina!!!
Haumie Huie, Taiki E!!!

As I normally stand somewhere at the back of our group when performing the haka, I now find myself at the front of the spear headed formation of our Rotorua based NZSA academy rugby team in New Zealand.

As much as I might look like a local due to my dark skin and black hair, I am just a dutchman trying to keep my composure in the midst of this cultural and for me now sacred ritual, before going out on the pitch, honouring our ancestors and calling out to them to strengthen us in the upcoming battle. It is the first time we get to play in the International Stadium, where many All Blacks, whom are the famous heroes of this sport and players of the national team, have overcome their challengers on this very pitch. Heck, there might be some up and coming All Blacks in the other team, as many of them play in New Zealand to be selected for the national side. Just being here and for me to measure myself against them is something I could only dream off, growing up at my home based club in a little town Hoek van Holland, in The Netherlands.

When I remember this moment I still feel how excited I was before the game, but also scared. Scared to find out I don’t belong playing on this level, scared to make a fool out of myself by forgetting the lyrics of the haka (which happened on this very occasion by the way), but also scared to come back home a failure, if I would not succeed in my quest to find answers about if I have what it takes, playing rugby on a high level.

Now, more than a decade later with more questions than answers, I am on the brink of starting a new quest, or should I say, to continue the journey I went on as an young aspiring rugby player, What does it mean to be a father, What do I stand for, but I mean really stand for.. How can I balance professional life with family responsibilities and is the warrior, if there was one to begin with, still in me?

Looking around me I see a lot of people struggling with the same questions. But it strikes me as odd that we are living in one of the wealthiest countries, have everything we could wish for, but still struggle to be happy with who we are and what we do.

That is why I often think back about my rugby career overseas, as it seemed all so clear what I needed to do and to be to in order to not only find my purpose, but feel it in every thought, act and result in my daily life. It makes me wonder if there any other warrior traditions over the world and I decided to go find them and highlight their ancient values, lessons and traditions in our documentary series as I meet the modern day warriors keeping them alive.

Embarking on this mission I also get taught one of the ultimate laws of the universe. As I mustered up the guts to share my ideas and act on it, it placed the right people in my life whom supported this mission and helped it grow into reality! For all the time I walked around with this idea but did not speak my mind, nothing changed, but the moment I opened up about it and started acting out what I wanted to do, so much has happened and I met so many beautiful people who joined me in this collective quest.

For me personally, having to say that this adventure is forcing me to step out of my comfort zone and into the ring, is an understatement. As it is not the combat sports I am afraid off, being a rugby player I am, or was anyway, kind off used to impact. However to step in front of a camera, and having to hear myself back on video still makes me cringe. Maybe that is why we shot 4 episodes before even editing the first one. What if we did edit the first one right after we started. We might have never continued. But we didn’t edit the first one right after, we shot 4 episodes and you will get to see every single one. Or at least we will post them, for you to see it is your choice off course.

Here is to doing new things, and making sure they scare you a little. Because that is where you grow and heal and become a better person.

Cheers, Duncan.

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