Athletic Marist and North Otago outside back Patrick Pati came to Oamaru from Auckland half-way through the 2019 Citizens Shield competition and impressed with his all-round play. He chats to Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson about how he is finding the change of lifestyle.
Q Tell me a bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Auckland, and that’s where I have played most of my rugby. Both my parents are from Samoa and I have one sister. I started playing rugby at the age of 11. I have been through representative teams such as Blues under-18s and 20s, secondary school sevens with Samoa, North Harbour men’s sevens, Samoa under-20 and Samoa A.
Q And you got the call from Graham Pitches to turn out for Athletic Marist this year. How did that come about?
I met Graham through Facebook. He asked if I wanted to play club rugby down here in Oamaru. I agreed, so he arranged for me to fly down and let me have a chance to experience something new.
Q It was a tough season for Athies, but was it enjoyable?
Yes, it was a very tough season for us, but it was very enjoyable because I got to meet new coaches and team-mates. Also because we got to do some team stuff outside of rugby, like helping out in the community. The club sorted out a job for me at Lean Meats when I first arrived.
Q How are you finding the job?
So far, I am finding it very good. The co-workers are all friendlyand supportive. The job itself is pretty tough, but I have got used to it.
Q What about Oamaru – are you enjoying the lifestyle down here?
Oamaru is a lovely small town and the lifestyle is very different compared to Auckland. It isn’t very busy in Oamaru, whereas up in Auckland it is busy everywhere. So far I have enjoyed living and meeting new mates down here. It is also very quiet, which I have no problem with – so far I have enjoyed experiencing something new.
Q What do you do outside of footy?
I work during the week or I will be at the gym doing some extras just to try to keep fit.
Q How do you find playing for North Otago? How does it compare with other rugby you have played?
It is a very big thing playing for North Otago. It is an opportunity for me to do what I love, and I am grateful for the chance to be able to be a part of the team. Meeting new coaches and players is what rugby is all about.
Q How are you enjoying the team environment?
The culture within the team is very strong. Everyone makes everybody feel welcome to the team. Giving back to our sponsors is a good thing by putting on barbecues for the community. The environment within the team keeps on getting better week-by-week, with everyone keeping each other accountable and staying as a brotherhood.
Q Obviously to debut in the Ranfurly Shield game was big. What was that like?
I was very nervous, but grateful to have had the chance to play in a Ranfurly Shield game. It was a special occasion for us. To run out there with the boys was an unforgettable feeling.
Q What are your goals in rugby and life?
My goal is to try to inspire young kids to find what they love doing and doing it to the best of their abilities, taking every chance you have and making the most of it.
Q If you had to cook a meal to impress someone, what would it be?
Pork ribs with gravy on top, onion rings, salad and fries on the side.