Rising league star Chris Tuatara-Morrison is the famous Kiwi clan's latest hero, after saving a man's life while chasing his NRL dream.
The 24-year-old - younger cousin of Hollywood star Temuera Morrison and grandson of legendary entertainer Sir Howard Morrison - was walking through a school grounds on his way to pre-season training for reserve-grade Sydney side Newtown Jets when he heard a "huge thud".
A middle-aged man had suffered a massive heart attack.
Tuatara-Morrison immediately went to his aid.
"He was unresponsive. I realised that he was in a bit of strife and he started to turn blue," the blockbusting centre told Sunday News from Sydney.
"I started performing CPR, gave him mouth-to-mouth and constantly kept checking for his vitals. By then a few other people had run over and by that time I had also rung the ambulance." A staff member from Newington College – where the training session was being held – rushed over with a defibrillator from the school's pool complex.
"I cleared everyone away from the man, hooked him up and got him going. I gave him a few pumps on his chest. Then he came to and started breathing again," Tuatara-Morrison said.
"I then put him into the recovery position and kept monitoring him. The ambulance then arrived and we had to keep going until they were all set up."
The league star had learned how to use a defibrillator on a recent personal trainer course.
Tuatara-Morrison's heroics were recognised by the Newtown club, which awarded him a Special Humanitarian Award.
Doctors have told him he saved the man's life. "He's out of intensive care, has opened his eyes and it was nice to be rung up and thanked for it." But Tuatara-Morrison is modestly playing down his courageous act, last month.
"I had no time to think ... I just knew I had to do something." Tuatara-Morrison's good deed was so dynamic it wouldn't have been out of place in a script from one of the blockbuster movies [Star Wars, Speed 2] starring cousin Temuera – whom Chris calls "uncle".
"I am pretty close to Uncle Temuera. I saw Tem gave a couple of interviews a little while ago and he name-dropped me a little bit ... he was looking out for me," Tuatara-Morrison said.
Christened Chris Tuatara, the league sensation didn't know of his links to the Morrison whanau until he was 13. Brought up by mother Christine, he found out the identity of his father – Howard Morrison Jnr – after years of questioning. Christine and Howard Morrison Jnr's relationship had not lasted. He changed his name to Chris Tuatara-Morrison at the wishes of Sir Howard – Howard Jnr's father, and Temuera's uncle.
"I knew who the Morrisons were as a young fella growing up," he said. "As a young Maori, it was inspiring to see what Sir Howard had achieved ... then to find out he was your grandfather was incredible. Every chance I get, I tell people who my grandfather is.
"I am just fortunate to have people like that in my life."
Tuatara-Morrison's manager is in talks with Stephen Kearney-coached Parramatta Eels for a deal next season.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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