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A move to the Warriors on a three-year deal has secured Dylan Walker's long-term playing future and presented the opportunity to immerse his sons in the culture he missed out on as a child.

Despite both his parents growing up in New Zealand, Sydney-born Walker was raised in Australia and made only fleeting visits across the Tasman to visit his father as a kid. 

It's only in recent years, through time spent with the Māori All Stars, that the 28-year-old has connected with his heritage, and it's something he's keen to ensure four-year-old Leo and two-year-old Tatum are surrounded by now the family is living in New Zealand. 

"Having two boys of my own, that makes me want to make them realise who they are and where they come from," Walker told

I really want them to experience that side of their culture. I think that was an exciting part of this and definitely a motivator in the decision.

Dylan Walker

"I probably only reconnected with it through the Māori All Stars to be honest. In a way I neglected it before.

"It's cool to realise that's my culture and that's who I am. Moving over to New Zealand was only going to strengthen that."

So powerful was Walker's experience with the Māori side, who he has played for in each of the last three All Stars fixtures, it convinced him to pursue the opportunity to represent the Kiwis at this year's World Cup. 

Match Highlights: Maori v Indigenous

Ultimately Walker was unsuccessful in his bid to receive an exemption, which was required due to him representing the Kangaroos in four Tests back in 2014.

"It was getting close, but eventually they shut it down. It was quite disappointing because I made the decision to play for Australia when I was a teenager," Walker said. 

"Michael Maguire was coaching the Kiwis and he was the coach who gave me my first-grade debut (at the Rabbitohs). We spoke and he wanted me involved to play centre.

"You see a lot of other boys getting to represent the other side of their culture which I thought was cool, but I also understand why the rules are in place."

Meanwhile new Warriors coach Andrew Webster has confirmed he plans to use Walker as a bench utility, a role which he played for Manly through most of the 2022 season, usually coming on as a middle forward. 

Walker came off the bench in 19 of his 23 Telstra Premiership appearances last season, averaging 22 tackles and 87 metres per game. 

Walker sets up Davey

"He brings a lot of experience given he has played right across the backline and in the middle," Webster said of Walker. 

"He's brought character, experience and enthusiasm to us already.

"He's been super competitive, which I had heard about him, and he's made a lot of people laugh at training, which is important too."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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