Hundy Club Profile: Chris Te’o

Chris played for OBU for most of the 90s (1992-2000) and became the first (and only at that time) member of the Hundy club in 1999. He played 108 premier games and scored 23 tries. He also played some Ruru rugby.

We sat down over messenger and talked about his story with OBU. turns out he is one of a pretty small group (possibly even just one) that played for all 3 clubs. Read on….

Goat: Tell us about where you came from to join OBU?

CT: I went to Aotea college but afterwards found myself playing age-grade rugby for WCOB before the amalgamation. I had a couple of years in League after that for the Eastern Suburbs Eagles club based at Newtown Park, which has now evolved into the Harbour City Eagles (based in Berhampore).

I got a leg injury and the doctor said I’d never play again. Next thing my cousin and a bunch of mates (Neil Archer in particular) were having a great time playing for the varsity J1 team and convinced me to play again. I loved the culture on and off the field. I started playing premier rugby the next season when Jock Hobbs was coaching.

Goat: So, you’re one of I expect a small number of people that was a player for all 3 clubs, WCOB, Victoria University and OBU! What position(s) did you play?

CT: I played any of the front row positions or 6/8. All depending on how well the off-season went!

Goat: What’s your favourite on-field memory?

CT: In my last season in 2000 we just scraped into the Jubilee cup by winning our last Swindale Shield game against the more fancied opposition of Wests. I hadn’t played all season and Hamish (Vance) asked me to play a half-game. At half time he gave me the bad news of ‘you’re staying on’ after I’d already emptied the tanks!

Later in the Jubilee Cup, we hadn’t been going so well and came up against a Norths team desperate to beat us to make the semis. Their captain at the time was a 19-year-old guy by the name of Jerry Collins! We beat them in a hard-fought game, and I was proud of the way we had played.

We had some pretty good players in that team too though with Puks (Shannon Paku), Paul Steinmetz and Jason Spice.

I also played in a Ruru shield match for the Dead Ants. I can’t remember who against, possibly the 7ozers.

(Goaditor – I think I can add to that. It most certainly was against the 7ozers in around 1997/8. I personally faced the wrath of a couple of those charging runs).

Goat: What’s your favourite off-field memory?

CT: Lots, but the times I remember the most fondly are straight after the match in the changing rooms and Tom Bamber’s smokes. He used to complain about how much they cost etc but we would just smoke them anyway! Ha-ha! Great guy Tom and many others too.

I also remember Sean Spring’s court sessions they were legendary! I’ve never seen anything like it since.

Goat: Hopefully, we can get an event going that will give you a reason to get along later in the season (when we finally get the season underway)! What’s life like after OBU? Where are you these days? Work? Family.

CT: I have 4 kids 9,19 28 and 32-year-old. Our bubble has been with my wonderful partner my youngest 3 and my granddaughter. My son is living on a lifestyle block with his wife in the Hawkes Bay.

I’ve been doing bikes in schools projects. We have 3 now in Porirua as well as USO bike ride. My partner and I are both now qualified NZTA instructors to teach kids!

Goat: How did USO bike ride come about?

CT: It started when my Dad died. It was 3 weeks from diagnosis to death! That was a shock and hard on my family and made me realise the impact of the stats about health in the Pasifika community.

Then I decided to cycle from Auckland to Porirua to raise awareness of the simple steps we can take to avoid the health issues that so many in the Pasifika community get taken by. Things like getting the right advice, going to the doctor when you need to, sorting out the nutrition, cutting smokes and reducing the alcohol intake.

From that, it just sort of grew into the USO bike ride, which is now a fully affiliated Cycling Club with Cycling NZ, with more than 300 members. We’ve done rides the length of the country twice now!

But one of the most important things we do is to make sure we look after one another so it’s a deeper relationship than just a bike club. It has a real whanau feel to it.

During the lockdown, we’ve been doing a ride each day using technology to be together on our training bikes at home. The app we use is called zwift which you can find pretty easily online.

You can find USO bike ride’s website over here…

Goat: Any messages of inspiration you want to pass back to the Goat community?

CT: Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. There will be plenty of people that will tell you all the reasons you can’t achieve something. Ignore them and surround yourselves with people you can trust and always be kind.

Overall, I’m grateful for my time with the club which allowed me to meet people that I would never have had enough in common with to meet without rugby. That experience gave me the confidence to know I can work with all sorts of people after rugby and I’ve got some great friendships and had some great times.

Goat: Great words, thanks Chris and hope to catch up in person when things get back to normal(ish)!

I highly recommend dropping by the USO website to see what Chris and the crew have been up to. The blog has some particularly interesting photos and stories!

Chris and team earned quite a few awards in the last few years and there have been some great media stories. Here is a selection of a few of them.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested get in touch (links further down the page)

 

https://www.leva.co.nz/news/understanding-the-culture-of-uso-bike-ride

https://www.getthetools.org.nz/community-tools/for-pacific-men/

https://tpplus.co.nz/community/meet-the-founder-of-uso-bike-ride-chris-teo-sunpix-awards-2019/

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/108607156/uso-bike-ride-wins-supreme-award-at-wellington-regional-community-awards

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201787813/pacific-and-maori-health-issues-highlighted-by-nz-long-ride

 

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USOBikeRide,  

Twitter: @usobikeride

Email: [email protected]