Family full of joy and pride
Kris Dando backgrounds the story of young Porirua rugby league hopeful Bureta Faraimo.
The Faraimo household is full of noise, laughter and pride and they’re not unique in this respect.
Bureta Faraimo is a Porirua lad, schooled at Russell and Brandon schools, and Porirua College. He has 13 siblings and, crucially, is the youngest boy.
Even with five younger sisters, he is referred to as ‘‘mum’s sooka bubba’’ by the tightly-knit Pacific Island family.
Every time someone uses the expression, it causes everyone crammed into the kitchen and lounge of the Faraimo’s home in Miranda St to erupt into howls of laughter.
Bureta is on the cusp realising his NRL dream.
But to his parents, siblings, extended family and childhood coach Lise Baker, he is ‘‘ just Bureta’’ and ‘‘our boy’’, not the ‘‘The Smoking Gun’’, as he has been referred to by his Mackay Cutters’ team-mates.
While I was visiting his parents’ home to talk about his playing for the American national rugby league team – his family wear United States Tomahawks
of T-shirts with pride – he rang his mother from Australia for their daily chat.
The monthly telephone bills run into nearly four figures as she keeps in close contact with her three sons and daughter in Queensland.
Without too much warning, I was handed the phone and the kitchen was deserted.
I had a 10-minute chat with Bureta, who was in Mackay, at the Faraimos’ expense.
Bureta’s father later told me: ‘‘He rings his mother every day.
‘‘If I answer, he says, ‘Hello’ and then, ‘Is Mum there?’.’’
It’s an example of the love, respect and closeness you constantly encounter among Pacific families.
The constant mirth and hearton-the-sleeve stuff in some Pacific Island homes is incredible. And you see it plenty. I come across a number of Porirua East lads who are off to chase their rugby union or rugby league dreams and the pride of their family is palpable.
Medals, trophies, team photo- graphs and newspaper clippings are paraded for me, accompanied with mum or dad’s squared-back shoulders, and they are smiling from ear-to-ear.
It never gets old.
Support crew: Bureta Faraimo’s family, with parents Opeta and Maria front and centre, became American rugby league supporters during the recent World Cup.