Te Nana is known for his achievements in the abbreviated code with the New Zealand team.
He is here to attend the 29th Raro Sevens Tournament, which starts today, as an ambassador.
Te Nana said he heard about the tournament some years ago but was unable to attend due to commitments with the All Blacks Sevens team.
“My son has actually played in the tournament a couple years ago. He told me how much he loved it. The opportunity came up this year and I am really looking forward to it,” he said.
“For me tournaments like this is about giving back. I have been lucky enough to go to Fiji and do the Coral Coast Sevens and the Oceania Sevens. It’s all about trying to get out to other islands and promote the game.
“I think there is a lot of talent here on the island that can mix it up at the world stage. If I am able to inspire one of the kids to get up there, then I guess it’s (this trip) worth it.”
Looking at the make-up of the pools in the three-day tournament, Te Nana said he expects a tough competition this weekend at the BCI Stadium.
He said the inclusion of international players was a major boost to the local players and the competition.
“It’s important to have players from outside come in and play with the local players to try and raise the standards.
“International players can come in, share their experience and it’s the only way you get better exposure, especially because Cook Islands are not in the series consistently and they need that exposure.”
Te Nana said the inclusion of Sevens rugby in the Olympics had changed the fate of the game.
He said the sport had become more competitive and has gained a wide following since the debut at the Rio Olympics two years ago.
“It’s unreal. People went to see how it (Sevens rugby) was going to be in Rio and the way it panned out has been amazing. The Aussie girls and New Zealand had a fantastic final but the way Fiji paid homage to their first-ever Olympic medal which was gold, was just great,” Te Nana said.
“I guess it epitomises what Sevens is all about … you go to war on the field, but it’s all about love and respect I think that’s what they (Fiji) showed and they deserved it.
“Also, a lot of people love watching Sevens, the viewer numbers around the globe has surely blown up.”
The tournament kicks off at 3pm today.