War­rior Adam’s happy home­com­ing

His Kiwi call-up is a great score forthe fam­ily!

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Contents -

I want my kids to be Ki­wis

Com­ing home to New Zealand was al­ways Kiwi league su­per­star Adam Blair’s big­gest dream.

But af­ter 16 years in Aus­tralia chas­ing great­ness on the field, the Whangarei-born ath­lete had re­signed him­self to the fact he’d never re­turn to his roots – un­til ev­ery­thing changed with one sur­prise phone call.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing an SOS from the New Zealand War­riors af­ter a dis­mal 2017 sea­son, Adam, 32, his wife, nu­tri­tion­ist and natur­opath Jess, and their two sons, Har­lem, seven, and 20-mon­thold Taika, packed up their en­tire lives and left their Bris­bane base. And as it turns out, it was the best de­ci­sion Adam and Jess have ever made.

Speak­ing to Woman’s Day fol­low­ing the War­riors’ most suc­cess­ful sea­son in seven years and with Adam re­sum­ing in­ter­na­tional du­ties with the Ki­wis, the cou­ple say liv­ing in Auck­land has been a high­light, de­spite some ini­tial doubts from Jess, 32.

“I didn’t want to move in the be­gin­ning,” she ad­mits. “You don’t hear too much about the War­riors in Aus­tralia, so I didn’t know any­thing about the club. It took me a cou­ple of months to get my head around it. I had my busi­ness, Har­lem was at school, and we had our friends and fam­ily. But as soon as Adam signed, I was all in.”

Shift­ing to sub­ur­ban Auck­land at the be­gin­ning of the year meant a new house, a new com­mu­nity, and a new way of life for the pair and their gor­geous boys. But with one sea­son down and a Kiwi sum­mer loom­ing, the Blair clan are more than happy with their lot, es­pe­cially Adam, who is stoked at how “Kiwi” Har­lem and Taika – who is named af­ter Thor di­rec­tor Taika Waititi – have be­come.

“We bumped into Taika when Jess was preg­nant and be­cause we thought he’d be grow­ing up in Aus­tralia, we thought it would be a great name. I re­ally wanted a Maori name and we needed one that Aus­tralians could pro­nounce!

Talk about it!

“They’re speak­ing pretty good Maori now and Jess is try­ing to learn too. I used to speak a lit­tle of it to Har­lem in Aus­tralia, but now they’re sur­rounded by it ev­ery day at school and kindy. It makes me so happy to hear it.”

“Taika’s say­ing ev­ery­thing in Maori at the mo­ment,” Jess tells. “And Har­lem told me the other day that he’s for­got­ten the Aus­tralian an­them now – he only knows the New Zealand one.”

“Yes!” a ju­bi­lant Adam ex­claims.

Show­ing his fam­ily where he hails from has been one of Adam’s great­est joys, with the chuffed dad all too happy to play tour guide, tak­ing them to the fam­ily farm in the far north and the slopes down south.

“I thought it would be re­ally nice to get my fam­ily to un­der­stand my cul­ture,” he tells. “We have so much to of­fer here, and I wanted them to see it and to ex­plore places we’ve never been. We had our first snow hol­i­day in Queen­stown. The kids learnt how to ski in an hour.”

Jess chimes in, “Adam couldn’t do it, though. I said to him, if he falls over, we’d have to go home!”

While there’s been lots of ex­plor­ing beaches and farm­ers’ mar­kets, the move across the Tas­man has also proved to be very lu­cra­tive for Jess. Her busi­ness Well­ness by Blair has taken off, es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia.

“I’m busier here than I was in Bris­bane!” she laughs. “I de­cided that when I came here, I’d just fo­cus on what I wanted to do and what­ever hap­pened would hap­pen. So I’ve done a lot more pub­lic speak­ing and cor­po­rate health, and I’m writ­ing a book. I’m also at uni study­ing health pro­mo­tion, which I love.”

“I don’t get to see her any more,” Adam says, smil­ing proudly at his wife. “We used to have our days off to­gether, but she’s so busy!”

And Jess has achieved a rare feat, with many of the or­gan­i­sa­tions and me­dia out­lets she’s worked with only too happy to claim her as our own.

“Ev­ery­one’s em­braced me as a Kiwi,” she tells. “It’s been so nice. I ac­tu­ally can’t be­lieve how great and lovely peo­ple have been. I didn’t ex­pect it – it’s amaz­ing.”

Suf­fice to say, it’s been a won­der­ful year for the pair, who first met in Mel­bourne 11 years ago, when Adam spot­ted Jess in a ho­tel lobby.

“And we’re still go­ing strong to­day,” he laughs.

“It’s been an amaz­ing time. We’ve lived in so many dif­fer­ent places now – Bris­bane, Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and now here.

“I’m just so thank­ful we were given this op­por­tu­nity and that my kids sing the Kiwi an­them now!”

Adam has some clever com­pe­ti­tion at home with Jess, whose well­ness busi­ness is tak­ing off.

The try scorer look­ing ex­plo­sive on the field for the War­riors. The proud dad is chuffed his livewire brood is speak­ing te reo. “It makes me so happy to hear it,” he says. The per­fect team! The cou­ple with sons Har­lem (left) and Taika.

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