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He's done it!!

The boy with the flat feet from Flatbush Road has climbed to the top of the NRL world and established a new peak in athlete work/life balance.

When I started at the Vodafone Warriors as the club's NYC/education welfare manager in November 2009, Siliva Havili was still at St Paul's College and was contemplating his last year at school.

Although bright he wasn't sure if he had completed enough credits in year 12 due to all his football commitments that year.

At the end of the 2010 year he was contemplating a 'Foundations' course to get some of his grades up so he could attend university. Principal Mark Rice and old boy Joe Vagana, who was at St Paul's as his mentor, would often ring to discuss Siliva's progress and play/study balance.

We all knew balancing a professional rugby league career and university study would be difficult and in 2013 we discussed with Siliva whether he should put his study on hold.

Well, today (Friday) he graduated from AUT (Auckland University of Technology), completing a Bachelor of Health Science degree majoring in podiatry.

His senior lecturers tell me the opportunities available to him as a Pasifika male graduate are endless; the community needs him.

On top of that he debuted in the NRL for the Vodafone Warriors in 2014 and represented both Mate Ma'a Tonga and the Kiwis on the international stage. 

Growing up in Otara, Siliva was typical of those from the neighborhood - full of talent and promise and looking for an opportunity.

Today let us celebrate the boy with the flat feet who will go down as one of the players to come through the NYC system and all its hurdles and challenges to become a poster boy for what is possible.

His hard work and commitment to getting the job done will be held up as a benchmark of what is possible for any young man entering our development system at the club.

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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