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Sporting Greats Crack the Code on Maori TV

Publicity Release
Friday February 17 2006

Sporting Greats Crack the Code on Maori Television

Legendary Kiwi sporting greats are making a comeback on Maori Television for the second season of sports entertainment show CODE (Thursday February 23 at 8.30 PM).

Rugby league giants Tawera Nikau and Ritchie Barnett join former Silver Fern Jenny-May Coffin, Warriors’ star Wairangi Koopu and rugby representative Matua Parkinson to present the programme every week. Former All Black Glen Osborne will be a newcomer to the CODE couch – recently returning from a stint playing rugby in Japan.

Broadcast live each week from Maori Television’s Auckland studios or from major sports events around the country, the one-hour interview show will include the latest news, inside stories and behind-the-scenes action with top sports personalities making headlines at home and abroad.

Former Kiwis skipper Tawera Nikau (Waikato) – nicknamed ‘T’ – is one of New Zealand’s most successful professional athletes. Nikau began his professional career in Australia with Cronulla and later the newly formed Melbourne Storm where he was part of the 1999 premiership winning team. The 19-test international captained the New Zealand Maori team at the rugby league world cup and also played in England with Warrington including a Challenge Cup final at Wembley. Hailing from Huntly, he recently stood down after two seasons at the helm of the Wai-Coa Bay Stallions team in the Bartercard Cup.

Ritchie Barnett (Ngapuhi) has been a professional rugby league player for 11 years, playing a total of 26 tests and captaining New Zealand 10 times against the big names of league. Barnett was coaxed into playing for Otahuhu before crossing the ditch to Australian NRL club Cronulla for four years and then the Roosters for another three years. For the past four years, he has played club league in England and retired last year. His segment on CODE, ‘I Spy’, will shed an exclusive light on the private lives of New Zealand’s sports stars. Barnett and Nikau will also team up to commentate for Maori Television’s free live-to-air coverage of the national rugby league premiership.

Te Kuiti-born Jenny-May Coffin (Ngati Maniapoto) forfeited an earlier career with the police to return to university study after the demands of being a Silver Fern representative took precedence. She played for three National Bank Cup Franchise Teams – Wildcats, Force and Magic – and retired from a six-year, 26-test career for the Silver Ferns in 2003. She is also a dual international, having represented New Zealand at touch rugby.

Wairangi Koopu (Te Whanau-a-Apanui), 25, has been with the Warriors rugby league club since he was a teenager and is now one of three current players to boast more than 100 appearances for his team. Koopu has 116 caps over a six-year career and was the only Warrior last year to play all 25 NRL season matches, missing just one training run. His segment on CODE, ‘Wai’s Guy’, will get up close and personal with his Warrior team mates plus some of Aotearoa’s lesser known sports names.

Finally, Matua Parkinson (Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Hauitui) will be joined in 2006 by Glen Osborne (Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi) to present ‘The Brofessionals’ on CODE which will examine the lighter and quirkier side of sports. Parkinson – aka ‘Muts’ – is a former Super 12, New Zealand Maori and New Zealand Sevens representative while Osborne – whether at fullback or wing – was a leading All Black of the mid to late 1990s.

Catch the premiere of CODE on Maori Television on Thursday February 23 at 8.30 PM.

ENDS

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