Boy-band singer opts for rugby

'It was a pretty tough call'

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 11:54 29/05/2013
Rameka Uitime-Paraki
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
SPORTING AMBITION: Rameka Uitime-Paraki, 20, could have been on The X Factor stage with his Moorhouse mates but picked a career in rugby instead.

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Pop star or rugby star?

Both are careers that most people dream of, but for Christchurch's Rameka Uitime-Paraki it became a very real choice.

The 20-year-old recently dropped out of hit boy-band Moorhouse to pursue his rugby career, just as the band's fame was taking off on The X Factor.

"It was a pretty tough call. Both singing and rugby are very important to me," he said.

Rugby has been a passion Uitime-Paraki grew up with, playing in Auckland with his three brothers.

Singing, on the other hand, was a relatively new discovery.

Uitime-Paraki moved to Christchurch after he finished school in 2011 to train with the Canterbury Rugby Union development squad.

It was through a friend from rugby that he got introduced to the Majestic Church and Moorhouse.

"We went out to dinner with the church and these guys just started singing. They asked me if I could sing and I did and they liked it. "

From there, the boy-band Moorhouse was formed.

After their cover of David Guetta's Titanium went viral on YouTube, the boys were turned into local pop stars. Uitime-Paraki described his time in Moorhouse as "crazy".

"It just blew up, it was the most insane and fun experience ever."

Uitime-Paraki managed to balance his two passions for a while, undertaking rugby training and performing with the band, but his schedules kept conflicting.

It was when Moorhouse auditioned for The X Factor and got through to the bootcamp round, that matters came to a head. "It got to the point where I couldn't keep going with both. I had to choose one."

The young man had a life-changing call to make - rugby or music?

Uitime-Paraki said his brothers, including his identical twin, encouraged him to stick with his rugby.

However, his friends from Christchurch told him to pursue his singing dreams.

His "beautiful girlfriend" said she would support him either way.

"She supported both, probably leaning to the rugby a bit more so she could have me for herself," Uitime-Paraki joked.

Deciding to leave the band, Uitime-Paraki trialled as a back for the New Zealand under-20 squad. He didn't make the cut, but was instead picked by Samoa, where his grandfather was born, for their under-20 squad.

The team will head to France on Monday to compete in the 2013 World Junior Championships.

Uitime-Paraki knew he had made the right choice, but still felt a pang of conflict whenever he saw Moorhouse on television.

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"I wish I could be up there with them. It wasn't easy choosing one and I knew either way I had to follow through with what I picked."

Uitime-Paraki said the band had "no hard feelings" over his decision.

Uitime-Paraki hoped his rugby dreams would one day come true.

"All I've ever wanted to do is play rugby professionally.

"I do still hope to be an All Black one day."

- The Press

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