Extraordinary Kiwis

Extraordinary Kiwis: True Grit
Saturday 16 June, 5.30pm

At age 16, Nathan Fa’avae was a juvenile delinquent – drinking, dabbling with drugs and struggling to find his identity as a Samoan New Zealander in provincial Nelson. Fifteen years later, he was a professional athlete, ranked number one in the world in the gruelling sport of adventure racing.

Fa’avae has been described by his peers as one of adventure racing’s greatest competitors. This ‘Extraordinary Kiwis’ documentary, ‘True Grit’ shows Fa’avae’s story (today at 5.30pm on TV ONE). A driven athlete, he manages to maintain a relaxed attitude and easy-going nature that has seen him lead his team to victory in countless international events. This is all the more remarkable given that for the past seven years, Fa’avae has battled a heart condition that can cause his heart to suddenly skyrocket from 100 beats per minute to over 300bpm.
In 2005, Fa’avae’s team ‘Balance Vector’ finished a year of international competition with a world championship race in their own backyard – the legendary southern traverse, 428 km of running, kayaking and biking across and along the mountain spine of the South Island. After 100 hours’ racing and only six hours’ sleep, team ‘Balance Vector’ finished a full-day ahead of the next team (the previous year’s champions from the USA) and took the ‘World Adventure Racing Championship’ crown for 2005.

It was a fitting climax to a career racing all over the world, and a springboard into his next venture. At age 34, Fa’avae ‘retired’ from professional sport and is now turning his skills to giving back to the community that helped turn his life around.

Fa’avae is working with youth at risk, long-term unemployed and poorly motivated young people, playing a huge part in helping people change their lives for the better. He has been appointed an ambassador for Outward Bound, a SPARC sports ambassador and he runs his own team-building and outdoor instruction company from his Nelson base.

Fa’avae says he enjoys working with young people and is in an ideal position to understand their problems: “Every now and then, I see myself come along. A good outdoor education centre will teach kids what’s important in life and good values. Once they learn that, a lot of the other things will fall into place.

“Everything I do revolves around the outdoors and people – that’s where my skills lie. If I can help people to get the most out of their lives, find happiness and health, then I have made a difference.”

He says sport taught him that if you can just push through tough times, things pick up again. “I think life’s very similar. Whatever it is you do, whether it’s sport, or music, or drama that rocks your boat. There will be hard times that come along. Some people will push through that and succeed.

“I believe those obstacles have been put there to draw out the strength and qualities that you have, as opposed to quitting and walking away. Never give up, keep persevering. It’s amazing what you can achieve.”

‘True Grit’ sees the story of a teenage tearaway who became a world champion. But more than this, it shows a passionate, genuine man who is connecting with ordinary Kiwis and helping turn their lives around.

EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS

DOCUMENTARY

This documentary series celebrates a unique mix of not only household names, but those New Zealanders who live interesting lives. Tonight we profile Senior Sergeant Niki Seager who is stationed in Henderson, West Auckland. For three days over Easter, cameras follow Niki as police prepare for a drink-drive blitz, and problems with Good Friday trading. Senior Sergeants normally spend most of their time in the station monitoring police activity out in the field. However, Niki likes to get out and about and keep in touch with what’s happening on the front line, and how her team is performing. She has a reputation within the police hierarchy for improving morale and performance within the sections she leads. The cameras catch Niki dealing with a high-speed chase with the offender fleeing the scene.

EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: Niki Seager, Saturday June 23 at 7:00pm

EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: Tama Arapere
SERIES
SATURDAY 16 June at 7:00pm

Offering a fascinating insight into the lives of New Zealanders, PRIME is delighted to present EXTRAODINARY KIWIS. This documentary series celebrates a unique mix of not only household names, but those New Zealanders who live interesting lives.

This week we profile stock car driver Tama Arapere as he attempts to win the North Island championship title for modified stocks at Wellington’s Te Marua track. When he’s not racing stock cars, Tama is running his company that is responsible for loading trucks onto the Interisland Ferry for transportation between North and South Islands. Cameras follow Tama on and off the ferries, and around the race track.

EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: Tama Arapere, Saturday 16 June at 7:00pm on PRIME

EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: Scott Dixon
SERIES
SATURDAY 9 June at 7:00pm

Offering a fascinating insight into the lives of New Zealanders, PRIME is delighted to present the return of EXTRAODINARY KIWIS. This documentary series celebrates a unique mix of not only household names, but those New Zealanders who live interesting lives. Racing car driver Scott Dixon is a classic understated Kiwi bloke who quickly climbed to the top of the car racing circuit in New Zealand before moving to the USA to gain further experience and compete in the highly competitive IndyCar® Series. Our cameras followed Scott preparing for and competing in a “sunchaser” race near Salt Lake City Utah which starts in bright daylight and ends after dark. Driving for the Chip Ganassi team, Scott had been brought in as a trump card to beef up the usual two driver team to three for the Daytona Class of the nine hour race.
EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: Scott Dixon, Saturday 9 June at 7:00pm, only on PRIME