General Matagi's Story So Far

Miket12

Miket12

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/8888786/Matagis-journey-From-prison-to-Mt-Smart

Matagi's journey: From prison to Mt Smart

BEN STANLEY

Last updated 12:50 07/07/2013
Astatic2stuffconz 1373158188 792 8888792

Getty Images

Rising Warriors cult hero Suaia Matagi will tell you he was a bad kid as a teenager. He hung out with a bad crowd. He was an alcoholic, a smoker, someone who dabbled with gangs.

''I thought that was life,'' Matagi told the Fairfax Media last week. ''That was how I looked at life. I just did what I wanted.''

Matagi was going nowhere - and didn't care. That's when it happened. He got in a fight, a really bad one and beat someone up good and proper.

The result was a three-year prison sentence, to be served in Manawatu Prison, in Linton.

He took his medicine, sat in prison and thought about a lot of things. A new-found belief in God was a catalyst for change. In his faith, he found a way forward.

''It finally took prison to open my eyes and show there was no purpose in the life I was living,'' he revealed.

''I'm not proud of my past - but I sure wasn't going to let my past determine my future. I just wanted to go back and restore our family name.

''I embarrassed myself and my family too with the life I was living. That was my motivation. There was always hope.''

Matagi came out of prison after only a year, and headed home to Auckland, wanting to be a better man. His pathway came in league.

Though he'd never played any organised sport before, the 19-year-old started playing, first for the Te Atatu Roosters, then the Mt Albert Lions.

A natural front-rower, his success was swift. He was selected to play for Auckland in 2009 and the New Zealand Residents (2009, 2010 and 2011).

Matagi got a job as a courier driver. He'd work 12 hour days, and then head to training. Time with his family was limited.

His first outing for the Auckland Vulcans -- one step away from a Warriors promotion -- came in 2010. It was also the first time his past caught up with him.

Matagi's past record meant a travel visa for Australia was impossible. He was restricted to playing home games for the Vulcans only.

The phonecall Matagi was waiting for came late last year. Finally, he had been cleared to travel to Australia. The dream was closer. In the off-season, he would train with the Warriors main squad.

Matagi quit his job as a courier driver, and poured himself into training. Warriors skipper Simon Mannering remembered how hard the 25-year-old worked.

''He just did everything at 100 miles an hour,'' he said. ''Obviously he was very thankful to be in the position he was, and he was making the most of it.''
The Vulcans season began, and that first holy flight to Australia came against Manly in Sydney in the opening round of the NSW Cup.

His hard work in the pre-season would soon catch the coach's eye. Matagi's Warriors first-grade call-up came in the May 11 clash against the Bulldogs in Wellington.

The first step of his journey to the NRL was now complete. Matagi thought of his wife Fai and her support, and his children Malili (7) and Christopher (4). But he was determined this was just the beginning.

''There's more to achieve,'' he said. ''There are greater days ahead. Once you get that goal, you find another goal.''

Spreading his story has been a passion. Matagi regularly visits schools and troubled youth. His training ethic has not waned. He explains he doesn't want to be a first-grade flash in the pan - he wants his story to be an example of what you can achieve.

Coach Matt Elliott describes Matagi as having ''first-grade written all over him''.

''What he does individually is spot on,'' Elliott said. ''[What needs work] is what is going on off-the-ball. When he gets that right, he's going to be a high-quality first-grade player.''

From a prison cell to the spotlight at Mt Smart, Matagi reflects: ''I know how lucky I am. I used to work 12-hour days and now I get to live the dream. It makes you appreciate the jersey even more.

''Every day I'm star struck. Guys like Manu Vatuvei and Simon Mannering are standing next to you. It reminds you, never take everything for granted.''

''No matter how many times you drop the ball in life, it's about picking it up and running at the line again. That's what counts.''

- © Fairfax NZ News
 
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fanrrior

fanrrior

His passion and motivation certainly shows on the field.

Its the sort of mentality a team needs if they want to win a competition like the NRL. Talent, experience and using proper techniques can only get you so far. But without the willingness to put them to use it will all count for nothing.

If he has truly turned over a new leaf then I'm stoked for the guy. I hope his work ethic rubs off on not just the other players from the Warriors but every troubled youth he comes across.

The club should target more players who truly appreciate the jersey and opportunity they are given. Because, more often than not, its that appreciation that serves as the backbone of being a true professional.
 
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Miket12

Miket12

with his criminal record can he travel to australia ? is that why gubb is starting ? has matagi ever been seen in australia ?

He has been cleared to enter Oz and has played the away games for the Vulcans this season and now is in Perth with the FG team.
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
After a family issue a poster on this forum gave me some guidance in forgiving others as a requirement to getting on with your own life. It has allowed me to look at people like Matagi and wish them the best, hope they can carry on with improving the future of themselves and others that have been affected by them. I wish him the best and I hope with an example like Manu in the team to focus on he can find a way to contain and control his aggression to sports and not his private life.
 
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InsideBall

InsideBall

This story is precisely why Matagi is going to a very good NRL player - he'll never take the opportunity for granted.
 
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mt.wellington

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Always known about Matagi and the real reason behind his delayed development. Wasnt my business to say here then but Im glad he has owned his past so publicly and has a great future ahead of him. He has been the top front rower in the Auckland local scene for awhile now and its really choice to see someone aim up and overcome their obstacles to fulfill their dreams. The best thing about Suaia is he is quite humble and approachable. Not a cock like Packer. All the best for your future Matagi...
 
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Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

Always known about Matagi and the real reason behind his delayed development. Wasnt my business to say here then but Im glad he has owned his past so publicly and has a great future ahead of him. He has been the top front rower in the Auckland local scene for awhile now and its really choice to see someone aim up and overcome their obstacles to fulfill their dreams. The best thing about Suaia is he is quite humble and approachable. Not a cock like Packer. All the best for your future Matagi...



As someone who has been involved in law enforcement most of my life stories like this are there. In all those stories one thing is a constant, taking responsibility for their actions. Too many excuses are made for people doing the wrong thing. Too many easy options are sought. One of the most impressive people I ever met was a woman who came from a poor family whose daughters became Mongrel Mob moles, except for her who last I heard was a Theatre Nurse in Sydney.

I am now sure Matagi will be a success, and will deserve that success, he has the character. I think the same of Aaron Cruden in the All Blacks as a cancer survivor
 
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Hitman82

Hitman82

Always known about Matagi and the real reason behind his delayed development. Wasnt my business to say here then but Im glad he has owned his past so publicly and has a great future ahead of him. He has been the top front rower in the Auckland local scene for awhile now and its really choice to see someone aim up and overcome their obstacles to fulfill their dreams. The best thing about Suaia is he is quite humble and approachable. Not a cock like Packer. All the best for your future Matagi...


Are you joking about Package? He's pretty cool in person, really crack up guy.

I remember being told about Matagi's past when he played for the Residents a couple of years ago and stood out like a man amongst boys. I'm all about time served, lessons learned. And it's awesome to see he's using his story to help other kids avoid going down the same rocky road. He speaks well and seems like a very passionate and committed man - simply awesome!
 
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Maraea

Maraea

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/8888786/Matagis-journey-From-prison-to-Mt-Smart

Matagi's journey: From prison to Mt Smart

BEN STANLEY

Last updated 12:50 07/07/2013

Astatic2stuffconz 1373158188 792 8888792

Getty Images

Rising Warriors cult hero Suaia Matagi will tell you he was a bad kid as a teenager. He hung out with a bad crowd. He was an alcoholic, a smoker, someone who dabbled with gangs.

''I thought that was life,'' Matagi told the Fairfax Media last week. ''That was how I looked at life. I just did what I wanted.''

Matagi was going nowhere - and didn't care. That's when it happened. He got in a fight, a really bad one and beat someone up good and proper.

The result was a three-year prison sentence, to be served in Manawatu Prison, in Linton.

He took his medicine, sat in prison and thought about a lot of things. A new-found belief in God was a catalyst for change. In his faith, he found a way forward.

''It finally took prison to open my eyes and show there was no purpose in the life I was living,'' he revealed.

''I'm not proud of my past - but I sure wasn't going to let my past determine my future. I just wanted to go back and restore our family name.

''I embarrassed myself and my family too with the life I was living. That was my motivation. There was always hope.''

Matagi came out of prison after only a year, and headed home to Auckland, wanting to be a better man. His pathway came in league.

Though he'd never played any organised sport before, the 19-year-old started playing, first for the Te Atatu Roosters, then the Mt Albert Lions.

A natural front-rower, his success was swift. He was selected to play for Auckland in 2009 and the New Zealand Residents (2009, 2010 and 2011).

Matagi got a job as a courier driver. He'd work 12 hour days, and then head to training. Time with his family was limited.

His first outing for the Auckland Vulcans -- one step away from a Warriors promotion -- came in 2010. It was also the first time his past caught up with him.

Matagi's past record meant a travel visa for Australia was impossible. He was restricted to playing home games for the Vulcans only.

The phonecall Matagi was waiting for came late last year. Finally, he had been cleared to travel to Australia. The dream was closer. In the off-season, he would train with the Warriors main squad.

Matagi quit his job as a courier driver, and poured himself into training. Warriors skipper Simon Mannering remembered how hard the 25-year-old worked.

''He just did everything at 100 miles an hour,'' he said. ''Obviously he was very thankful to be in the position he was, and he was making the most of it.''
The Vulcans season began, and that first holy flight to Australia came against Manly in Sydney in the opening round of the NSW Cup.

His hard work in the pre-season would soon catch the coach's eye. Matagi's Warriors first-grade call-up came in the May 11 clash against the Bulldogs in Wellington.

The first step of his journey to the NRL was now complete. Matagi thought of his wife Fai and her support, and his children Malili (7) and Christopher (4). But he was determined this was just the beginning.

''There's more to achieve,'' he said. ''There are greater days ahead. Once you get that goal, you find another goal.''

Spreading his story has been a passion. Matagi regularly visits schools and troubled youth. His training ethic has not waned. He explains he doesn't want to be a first-grade flash in the pan - he wants his story to be an example of what you can achieve.

Coach Matt Elliott describes Matagi as having ''first-grade written all over him''.

''What he does individually is spot on,'' Elliott said. ''[What needs work] is what is going on off-the-ball. When he gets that right, he's going to be a high-quality first-grade player.''

From a prison cell to the spotlight at Mt Smart, Matagi reflects: ''I know how lucky I am. I used to work 12-hour days and now I get to live the dream. It makes you appreciate the jersey even more.

''Every day I'm star struck. Guys like Manu Vatuvei and Simon Mannering are standing next to you. It reminds you, never take everything for granted.''

''No matter how many times you drop the ball in life, it's about picking it up and running at the line again. That's what counts.''

- © Fairfax NZ News

I read this story and was impressed. I like Matagi and was pleased to see how he had changed from his running in face first (with a DEFINITE look of fear in his eyes) on his first run in the Manly game to turning and going in with the shoulder in his first run against the Broncos (with a new beard).

I actually contacted the office and suggested they update his Warriors profile to include his information after they had resigned him. I thought it would be awesome to include his full profile details as a reflection on his new status and to show that he'd worked hard and 'arrived' (for want of a better word) I guess. I really was affected seeing that look of actual fear in his eyes. I've really gotten quite interested in player welfare. Unreal! Go Matagi!!!
 
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mt.wellington

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Are you joking about Package? He's pretty cool in person, really crack up guy.

I remember being told about Matagi's past when he played for the Residents a couple of years ago and stood out like a man amongst boys. I'm all about time served, lessons learned. And it's awesome to see he's using his story to help other kids avoid going down the same rocky road. He speaks well and seems like a very passionate and committed man - simply awesome!
Yeah, I was being serious about Packer.

Anyway, got on this thread to post this. Love to hear some of it...

 
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Sup42

Sup42

I wonder what his relationship to the other Gang person in the nasty fight is now.
That would be an interesting part of the human interest layer to the tale.

Where is that person now , how do they feel about Matangi's success....has it influenced them in any way....

Do they still harbor ill feeling etc....
 
mt.wellington

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Ripped from the TOA SAMOA site...

1530309 460155854089072 587503200 n

The Toa Samoa aiga is proud to support Toa forward Suaia Matagi and his involvement in From Prison to the Palace – a My Story Project.

After experiencing his own prison to the palace story, Suaia teamed up with director Lily Sua to use his story to help encourage youth to make the right choices.

From Prison to the Palace documents the personal stories of several young people, enslaved in their personal prisons as a result of sexual abuse, suicide and broken relationships.

“But one thing they all had in common was the hope they found in their faith in God,” Director Lily Sua said.

“After choosing to trust God (the film) shows how God saved them and set them free.

“Now they are no longer in prison but are living lives in freedom. They are no longer in bondage or are suicidal. They are enjoying life in the palace.”

Suaia experienced rock bottom in his own prison – literally – as he served one year of a three year sentence for assault. During his time locked up, Suaia reassessed his choices, found God, and forged a new path in life.

After prison, Suaia made his NRL debut for the New Zealand Warriors in 2013, and most proudly, donned the blue and white as he represented his nation for Toa Samoa at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

“Representing Toa Samoa was a dream come true,” Suaia reflected.

“At the age of six I dreamed of one day playing for Samoa and representing the birth place of my parents. To make them proud and my family, wife, kids, friends, supporters… It was such an honour to put that jersey on. Words just can't explain the feeling.”

Suaia now spends much of his free time giving back to the community and inspiring youth to make good choices. He spends time with community groups, churches and troubled youth, as well as making prison visits to share his story and give hope to others that there is a better path.

“I want to inspire people and let them know you can still live your dreams regardless of your past.

“My faith in God really helped me become the man I am today and achieve what I have. My faith made the impossible possible, and the love of my family has kept me going to strive for more.

“I've learned that if you focus on your days ahead and not dwell on your past or look back, you’ll go a long way with hard work, sacrifice and a good attitude.”

From Prison to the Palace screens on 22 & 23 January at Mangere Arts Centre, New Zealand. Tickets available at www.eventfinder.co.nz
 
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Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

This to me is the true positive sports story for NZ, if not internationally for the last year. This is the story that should have been shouted from the rooftops by the NRL media rather than the negative shit of Dugan, Ferguson et al. Surely would have been a good feelgood story against the ASADA investigation. An opportunity missed last year, don't repeat the mistake this year.

Sport is supposed to be a positive influence. Why not show this story to show what can be acheived by effort to change your life. It can never be under stated the character he has to get out of that mindset and life. Now, this is a role model.
 
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Sup42

Sup42

I think as Matangi Star rises and he 'proves' to the NRL that he is a changed man ( that's pretty obviously the case ) they'll get on the bandwagon a bit more.
The two things are relative , fame and infamy
 
Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

I think as Matangi Star rises and he 'proves' to the NRL that he is a changed man ( that's pretty obviously the case ) they'll get on the bandwagon a bit more.
The two things are relative , fame and infamy

My experience (was a cop for 20 years) is that he will only be brought down by his associates. The real mistake is the assumption that if you are good at sport you are a good person and therefore a role model. That is crap as shown by Dugan etc. It is good to see they are using Matagi with youth
 
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surfin

surfin

My experience (was a cop for 20 years) is that he will only be brought down by his associates. The real mistake is the assumption that if you are good at sport you are a good person and therefore a role model. That is crap as shown by Dugan etc. It is good to see they are using Matagi with youth

Unfortunately the way some of our police have been behaving the last few years I wouldn't necessarily call them a role model to aspire to either.
 
Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

Unfortunately the way some of our police have been behaving the last few years I wouldn't necessarily call them a role model to aspire to either.

Unfortunately you are right about the Police, ever since they wanted academics over common sense people it has turned to shit.I actually wasn't meaning to set up Police as role models. Just my experience of seeing first hand people turning their lives round. IMO he has succeeded even if he didn't play another game.
 
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Danco

Danco

I wonder what his relationship to the other Gang person in the nasty fight is now.
That would be an interesting part of the human interest layer to the tale.

Where is that person now , how do they feel about Matangi's success....has it influenced them in any way....

Do they still harbor ill feeling etc....
His past is in the past, I wish him all the good fortune and a little bit of luck for 2014.We will see big things this year from him.
 
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