Piri set­tles in to life af­ter rugby

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - STUFF RE­PORTER

For­mer All Blacks star Piri Weepu is re­turn­ing to his roots as a hunter and gath­erer.

Wepu has swapped his rugby boots for tramp­ing boots, a ri­fle, knife and a fish­ing rod.

The pop­u­lar 34-year-old father of four hosts his own show Piri’s Tiki Tour on Ma¯ori Tele­vi­sion start­ing on May 1.

Weepu says it has been a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as he set­tles into life af­ter play­ing though he is still in­volved in coach­ing at the Pe­tone club and hopes to help out Wairarapa Bush in the coach­ing depart­ment too.

‘‘Mak­ing this show has been awe­some. Trav­el­ling around and ex­plor­ing new parts of the coun­try that I haven’t seen has been mean,’’ Weepu said.

‘‘I knew my rugby ca­reer was near­ing the end, so I started think­ing about what I should do. I knew I wanted to go over­seas, but af­ter rugby I was a lit­tle bit un­sure what av­enue to pur­sue, so I was rapt when this op­por­tu­nity came up.’’

Weepu sowed the seeds for the show be­fore he headed to the UK and France for the twi­light of his ca­reer and it came to fruition late last year and 10 episodes were filmed over the New Zealand sum­mer.

‘‘I learned how to fly fish prop­erly, which is harder than it looks.

‘‘It is beau­ti­ful to watch, and I was in awe of them. It has taken me 18 months to fi­nally crack it and I am still not an ex­pert,’’ he said.

‘‘I re­ally en­joyed the seren­ity of New Zealand, but we did break it fre­quently by given each other s... and laugh­ing.

‘‘As most of the hun­ters and fish­ing peo­ple will know, gath­er­ing food is not al­ways go­ing to go in your favour, so we were pretty for­tu­nate to have a good run.

‘‘It was cool meet­ing peo­ple you would not nor­mally meet, who were self­less and get­ting food for oth­ers in their com­mu­nity through hunt­ing, fish­ing and diving.

‘‘We had some pretty good dives es­pe­cially at the Chatham Is­lands and Kaitaia. You could just dive in your undies it was so warm, then you get to Welling­ton and there is a big tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence.

‘‘When I was pig hunt­ing in Kaitaia, the two boys that hosted us would al­ways take their niece and nephew with them and they have their own knives and dogs and are su­per keen.

‘‘They were right into gut­ting the pigs and show­ing us a thing or two and showed me up just qui­etly.’’

Weepu is hop­ing to shoot a sec­ond sea­son of the show and is also plan­ning to start a build­ing ap­pren­tice­ship.

Half­back Weepu played 71 tests for the All Blacks be­tween 2004 and 2013 and was a key fig­ure in the 2011 Rugby World Cup suc­cess.

For­mer All Blacks half­back Piri Weepu is re­turn­ing to his roots, in a hunt­ing and fish­ing show on Ma¯ori Tele­vi­sion.

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