Meet the Marlins.
Auckland’s deaf rugby team. They want to win the National
Deaf Rugby shield this year. They’ve got three months
before the big tournament. It’s a talented line-up. There’s Opeti, the
old hand. David, he scores the tries. Prop Sailusi who will drive through anything,
and Talia. Would you want to be tackled by him? – I’ve always played on the wing.
– He said he played before with hearing people, and he was better on the wing.
– I didn’t know enough about techniques to be a forward.
– He’s not very good in the middle he said. – I want to be part of the action.
– Because he said he’s fast, so he suits playing on the wing better.
– I have no fear about tackling; I’m a big guy and that’s what we train to.
– Because he likes bowling people over. – What position?
– Well, let’s see. I played first five, number eight, and [flanker].
– So, I think what you should say is that you started in the back line,
first five, fullback, but slowly over the years you’ve been moving forward.
And he’s now number eight. [laughter] – I’m a proud number eight. So I started rugby almost six years ago
because I was interested in, you know, mixing with my friends. You know, it’s
a fun game that I wanted to be involved in. And fitness as well, building up
my skills. I started on the wing, then I changed to the center,
but I’m flexible in my position. I’m good in attack and I’ve got
some great skills. And I’m experienced. Oh you do have good skills,
great skills, yes. But we’re just a little bit older now,
a little bit more like old crab. Talia grew up in Tonga.
He wasn’t taught sign language. He learned to lip-read and charms
everyone with his grin. Meli is from Tuvalu. They couldn’t communicate
when they met, but hey, that didn’t stop the love. Thought I’d try, but my English
isn’t good, so I wrote enough to show “Tonga”, which Meli understood. -He wrote his name on my hand, because
I asked him, “what’s your name?” He didn’t know how
to say it so he spelled it. Then I asked a friend, “who is that girl?” Then he said, “who’s that girl?” And then I went home, and
then the next morning my friend texted me and said, “do you remember
that deaf man last night at the circus?” I said, “yes, why?” And my friend said,
“I think the man likes you.” I said “haha, funny.” That’s how we met. I was out having a few drinks
with some of the boys. He was out with friends and I was
out with a group of my friends. And Nicola was there with her group
and I could see her watching. And he’s saying, “she was watching me, I
was a little bit drunk across the room.” So Nicola came over and she tapped me
on the shoulder. It was a nice surprise. And I walked over and introduced myself
to him. So I saw a guy across the room, and I said to a friend of mine,
“that’s him, he’s the one”. And my friend said to me, “Who is he?” I said, “I don’t know, I’ve never seen him
before in my life.” And so we stood there, watching him for a while. And
she said, “what’s he doing?” And I said, “I think he’s signing.”
So she teased me and she said, “you’ve got a bit of a problem,
girlfriend, because you can’t sign.” It was hard at the beginning because we
both had to learn to sign together. It was new for me. You know when I met
you, I was like, “oh my God, he’s hard work.” [laughter] Sailusi is 32, but he lives
at home with his mom. He doesn’t have kids, so he loves
hanging out with his nephew. A.J. doesn’t sign much,
but hey, they get by. Sailusi wants to go flatting,
but he needs a job first, and he has to convince his mom.
She wants her boy to stay home. Because he always talks to me “sometimes when you die,
I’m going to find somewhere to stay.” I told him this is your house, this is
your home. Your sisters and brothers will look after you.
I don’t know, he always tells me he wants to go
find somewhere to stay. Talia needs to watch
what he eats. He’s a bodybuilder, but he’s not in training,
so he’s tucking in. And you like to eat. Yes you like to eat all the time. I like to be satisfied,
I don’t like feeling hungry. He said he wants a good life,
he wants to be full all the time, he doesn’t like being hungry. I make sure I’m always full. But I cook all the time.
I get tired of cooking. Yeah, I ask Meli nicely to cook for me,
and when I’m feeling hungry I ask her to cook again, and again. When you finish work, you come home, you’re like,
“where’s the food, where’s the food?” You eat that all the time. Mhm, yeah I’m not keen on fish.
I prefer beef, lamb, so I mostly eat those. If I’m
body building, then I don’t eat what I’m cooking now, I switch to
eating fish and other foods, because that’s part of
the training, but I’m not training yet, so I’m eating this today,
which will fill me up. So you need to put two cups,
one cup of this into there. Yeah, one cup of that flour. So take it out, and
then roll it. [laughter] It’s messy work. Nicola fancied Opeti from
the moment she met him. She didn’t know sign language,
but she was determined to learn. -What do you like to eat?
-Corn beef and taro. Corn beef and taro! [laughter] I taught you sign language
and you’ve improved. Yeah, and so initially when we
first met, we were writing quite a lot and Opeti was teaching me about
20 words a day when we first met. I’d write down the words I wanted to learn,
and he’d teach me them and I’d practice them, and it probably
took me about three months to learn enough sign to communicate properly. We got a book, a sign language book, to learn,
“how do you say,” and then, “what’s the word?” Then practice,
then read another word, then practice, you and me practice. What happened is what I understand happens with
lots and lots of deaf people and families. You start to have a home sign, so
you just kind of have our own kind of style. I point and use facial expressions
so Meli knows what I’m talking about. That’s the easiest way. Mostly pointing, you know like pointing or
facial expressions or just body language. Sometimes I don’t understand her signing
at all. By seeing the real thing we are talking about, it works better. Sailusi’s had no luck finding a
job, so he’s seeking help. Scott’s an employment expert with
Elevator, and he knows sign language. [Come on in for a work
assessment and interview] Because he always ask me, he’s coming
to look for a job, and I know it’s very hard for him to find
a job but he really need to work. It’s good for him ’cause he’s
going to earn his own money, to support him when he grows up. David’s son Jayden is just starting to talk. But David’s deaf, so he’s actively teaching
his son sign language to be sure they can communicate. Sign language is always
easy for children to pick up, so his first language was sign language.
Started about eight months signing, just different objects around the room,
and then eventually his English started to follow that. And as he
gets older his English is catching up with his sign language, but previous
to that it was just a lot of signing, which was great, because it meant
that we were able to communicate with him a lot earlier than
a lot of parents can, just because it was easy for him
to pick up the sign language. He’s starting to learn as he gets older
that with David he always signs and with me he can talk or sign.
Obviously it takes a bit of time for him to learn that.
It’s quite a big concept, I mean who can hear, who can’t hear,
but he’s starting to get it. I mean, their relationship is like any
other father and son relationship except they use two languages to communicate.
It’s in our everyday life so David and I communicate in sign language.
Obviously it’s really important for us that he does continue with it,
so we put a lot of effort into making sure that we do use it and that he
is comfortable how to sign, because we don’t want to be in a
situation when he’s older where I’m having to interpret between those two and I’m
interfering in their relationship. They need to make their own relationship. So language is integral a part of that. Come, sit down. Mama! Where’s the donkey? [baby noises] Where are the trees? So Sailusi, I’ve asked you to come in today.
I just wanted to find out what you’re interested in, because
I understand that you’d like a job. Yes. I just want to explain the process that
we go through. The first part of the process is creating a career plan.
I’ll ask you a series of questions, just to get a clear understanding
of what it is you’d like to do. Are you clear with that? So to start with, can I ask you why
you’re interested in work? Okay… So if I ask you to think about what job
interests you the most, what would you tell me? And if I ask you to explain to me perhaps,
four career choices, what would they be? First is insect analysis. Secondly,
beetle sample collection from trees. Third, insect collection. You know,
catching them in the wild, containing and cataloging them, and
sending them in for analysis, then letting them go safely. Mele, can I have some salt? Let’s catch some butterflies
along this path. I’m sweating! Babe, I’m sweating,
can you bring me something? Do you see any? I don’t see them. Thanks, Meli. I’ll help with the dishes. Meat chops. He likes them. Talia can eat all this in one go. If you guys weren’t here, all that would be gone. And that’s one packet, and so tonight
he’ll eat the same thing again, he’ll cook the same meal again tonight
at, say, nine. But if he was here during lunchtime, he would
do the same thing. A lot. It’s a lot of food. Thanks. Thank you for coming in. I appreciate
the time that you’ve given me today. So what I’ll do now is collate all the
information related to your job search, and if an opportunity
comes up, I’ll text you, is that okay? Yep. Thank you; that’s great. Scott does more than just find jobs.
He helps young deaf people to prepare for work and set goals. Outside work, Scott’s the coach
of the Northern Marlins. I was a butcher for 25 years. My nephew
was born deaf, so my wife and I actually went to night class to learn
how to sign. From there, I met people in the deaf community, one particular
guy that was a tutor at the time talked to me about the sign language
interpreters’ class at AUT. So I applied for that and I’ve become an interpreter. ♪[drumbeats]♪ Two months out from the nationals,
the guys are training twice a week. Scott spends his evening driving
the guys to and from training. Some of them live an hour out of town. ♪[pedal steel guitar music]♪ I’ve been involved for 12 years
with the Marlins team in various roles from chairman through to coaching, manager, different roles.
This year I’m the coach. The Eastern tournament is an opportunity
for deaf rugby players from throughout New Zealand to come together
and compete with their peers, basically. So there’s the three teams: There’s the
Northern Marlins, which is from Taupo right through to Kaitaia, from Taupo
down to Wellington’s central zone, and then we have the
southern zone, which is Christchurch to South Island. This year’s the 20th
year celebration so, you know, it’s something everyone is looking
forward to. To have it going for 20 years is a bit of an achievement in itself.
So that’s what it’s all about, it’s about deaf competing against
deaf on a level playing field, really. David Brown plays center for the team.
He’s always been at center. A very clever footballer.
He’s got some really good skills. If David wasn’t there
we’d probably struggle, to be honest, because he’s a
really good play-maker. Sailusi’s been involved in deaf rugby
since day one. He’s been selected in the New Zealand team in the past,
and he’s really the rock for our team; he’s a prop. A bit of a character
but really puts in a huge effort, and I think he still wants to
continue on for another couple of years yet. Talia, this is his third year I think being
involved with the deaf Marlins. A very strong guy. Big emphasis with
Talia is his bodybuilding. That’s one of his passions.
First time he actually played for the Marlins he gave a bit of a fright to the Central and
Southern boys when they actually saw him strip down running onto the field.
Opeti is another of the real rocks in the team. Been around for a long long time.
Retired last year, but he’s come back this year, which is really good because
he’s a very valuable footballer. I think he’s probably one of the guys
from the Deaf Blacks that’s probably scored pretty much the highest amount of
points in tournament since he’s played or even for New Zealand. So we’re
really fortunate to have him back again this year as well. A bit late. Opeti and Nicola don’t have kids
of their own. They have a foster son, Kai Tau. He stays most weekends. It’s the highlight of Opeti’s week. He’s there. Phew. We have a little boy in our life, Kai Tau. He’s really like Opeti’s son actually.
He calls us Mum and Dad. -All good? How was the train? Okay?
-Good. I thought I was running late. Come on then. I feel happy having a home and family. Yeah, when… I think Peti got a shock
the first time Kai Tau said “bye dad” to Peti, he got a bit of a shock
but he was really happy about it. I guess I’d been with Kai Tau
for about three or four years before Opeti and I got together.
So it was quite a transition. He was living with both of his
great-grandparents and they both died, and he now lives with his great aunt,
who’s a friend of mine. He’s a big part of our life. He was
a page boy at our wedding. We don’t usually
go anywhere without him. He pretty much goes
everywhere we do. -All good?
-This way? This way. -He understands Opeti really well.
-I teach him some signs, he’s a bit shy. He always knows what Opeti’s saying. Him and Peti are great together actually.
Peti, you helped teach Kai Tau Basketball, and he’s helped him with his skills for rugby,
and yeah they’re great together. I’m just doing what I can to give Kai Tau
a good life, teaching him things and helping him grow up. Yeah, he’s just helping, he’s helping him to have a really good life and
have a few more opportunities. He’s a good boy, he’s a great little boy. Small world; his father and I
have the same birthday. Yeah, Opeti’s just saying it’s a really
small world, and I’ve always thought people come into your life for a reason, and there was a reason that I met
Kai Tau when he was little like I did. And this is for stretching, after games. [saying grace in Māori] I like to say something to my son,
“if you want something,” I told him, “you should go and tell your sisters and
brothers.” He said no because they always… Ask questions, don’t really understand.
I think he has a better bond with my mother. That’s why he likes to go to her for
everything if he needs something. Do you want to help? You’re here anyway;
you could help clear the weeds and stuff. I’m gonna finish lunch, then I have
swimming and training to go to. I don’t understand what he’s talking about. [Voice off-screen] But how
do you talk to him? [Elaine Timusi:
Sailusi’s sister] Just a little bit of sign language, because
I went to the sign language school… -She knows more sign than us.
-… when he was seven years, but it’s hard for me because I can’t speak,
my English is not good. Meat chops. Lamb meat chops. And he likes these. This is what Talia could eat in
one day if he was really, really hungry, or if he was
just being a pig really. That’s a lot. It’s about 12 for a packet, so one, two, three,
four, maybe fifty. This is just fifty bucks for food. That’s
not even including anything else; that’s just meat. Food’s expensive,
like really expensive. So we don’t have any money,
cause you eat it all up. – Yeah, well. It’s important to have a good body.
– Because you want to have a good body. – Hi baby, how ya doing?
– Yeah, I’m good. So he officially retired about
two or three years ago, but… -I am retired.
-… Notice he just keeps buying new pairs of boots and disappearing off to
training then it’s not really retirement at all. I’m a rugby addict! This year’s strategy was, “I’m just going
along to help the coach” -I said I’ll just play…
-This year you told me you were just going to help the coach. And then
I noticed about three weeks later a new pair of boots and
he’s actually playing. [laughter] Next week, Opeti turns 40. Is it time
to finally hang up the rugby boots? No more lamb chops for Talia. He’s gearing
up for a bodybuilding competition. Sailusi’s job search continues. The Marlins’ training intensifies, but the
coach discovers not everyone knows the rules. So, here’s the advantage line.