SPORTS: Parris Fa’apulou follows father’s rugby footsteps


Parris Fa’apulou (middle) flanked by grandfather Fa’i Falaniko and grandmother Sue

Parris Fa’apulou is not your typical 18-year-old New Zealand Samoan born.

As the oldest grandchild in the growing Falaniko’s household in Taranaki, New Plymouth, Parris is mindful that he must lead by example.

Fresh out of High School with honors in carpentry as the New Plymouth High 2017 Top Wood Tech Award recipient, Parris is holding his own and now an employee with the T&T Building Company.

His career choice is to follow his father Fa’apulou Fa’apulou’s shoes as a professional rugby player.

Fa’apulou Senior wore Manu Samoa colors in the 1999 Rugby World Cup until he retired from international rugby in 2002.  He is one of the pioneer locally based Samoan who played professional rugby in Europe for a number of years before Manu Samoa scouts picked him up for his natural flair and unpredictable back line surges.

And Parris is following those footsteps and already turning heads in the Taranaki Rugby circles.  He thundered into the scene wearing#8, alongside cousin Malahkai in the black and yellow under 20 side that ended their long losing drought to arch-rivals Auckland in 2017.

And late last year, Parris was named in the New Zealand Under the 20s and the Manu Samoa 7s.

The Faapulou Family taking five during the New Year holidays

For Parris, while rugby is his passion, he is mindful that there is no guarantee that he will realize his career choice taking into consideration the hundreds of young players all sharing the same dream.

He has not decided whether to represent Samoa or New Zealand if he afforded such a golden opportunity as he leaves that to the guidance from above.  But one thing is for certain, Parris is a tradesman for life and he is investing by continuing to take courses while working to ensure that he has the needed certification to secure a solid job outside of rugby.

His sports idol is Sonny Bill while his inspirations are his parents Josie and Fa’apulou and grandparents, Sue and Fa’i Frank Falaniko.

“My elders made the ultimate sacrifice to leave Samoa and stake their claim in New Zealand to secure a future for their children and grandchildren,” says Parris a devout Catholic with the Our Lady Help of Christians Bell Block Parish. “They have braved the cold and the early morning hours for us to have the luxuries that we enjoy today.

“And as the eldest grandchild, I feel obligated to meet their expectations to lead by example.

“Whatever the future holds, I leave that to the Almighty and in the meantime, I will do my best to realize my dream and make my family proud.”

Parris Fa’apulou (middle) flanked by grandfather Fa’i Falaniko and grandmother Sue with the artists Christmas present that Parris drew reflecting his passion for rugby and success