After finding success with the Warriors, Manu Vatuvei struggled to maintain the priority of family. A second chance gave him the opportunity to rebuild on a solid foundation with family at the centre.
Mum and dad came over from Tonga. Dad was a hard worker. He was the one that went out and did everything for us. Mum was a stay at home mum, look after the kids. Being a father myself, you want the best for your kids. And you want them to follow the Lord and follow God so that was something that I kind of learnt off them. My brother, he got into a lot of trouble, got into a few gangs, has been inside prison. I kind of felt lonely sometimes not having him there as a brother. In saying that, he was the one that got me out of trouble. He’s the one that told me that the path that he was going on, he didn’t want to see me on there. I got into a lot of drinking, smoking young. My parents didn’t really know until later. It kind of dragged me down a bit. I went to training and there was our deputy principal there. He was the one who got me back into league again. He’s the one that gave me opportunity. I went to one of the games with no boots and he took me to the store and got me my pair of boots. And it just shows that there’s people out there that want to help you. When I made it into the warriors, you get lots of obstacles when you become famous and I fell into some of them and almost lost my family. And that’s something that was really hard for myself. I thought straight away, that that’s it for me. I’ve lost everything that i’ve worked hard for and that’s family. He gave me that opportunity to and he gave me that second chance. And the love that he showed me for giving my family back to me was overwhelming. So, I can never thank him as much but every time I will, that will always remind me with everything I’ve been through. I’ll never forget that. It’s something that whenever I fall down i’ll always look back at what i’ve been through and have that connection again with God. And with everyone I think that’s where it all started and i’ll never turn back from there. Ruben Wicky came up with a saying, that the only person stopping you is the person in the mirror. So every time I look in the mirror I ask will that person stop me from succeeding and what I wanna do. You know I kind of look in the mirror every time, checking myself making sure. Am I doing the right thing? Am I sticking to everything that I believe in? And sometimes I don’t and then I just have to pick myself back up and move on with it. You know that that’s something that kind of drives me in having a family now that they’re the ones that give me that extra push. And now knowing that there’s a man above that always looks after me, i’m just blessed to know. I just keep giving my life to him and let him show me the path that he wants me to take and i’ll take it. When I found that peace with God I had the courage to let go of that baggage and share with other people. It’s letting that baggage go that is the hardest thing ever in my life and I just keep praying on it and trusting God that he’ll take that bag away from me.