Former tradie Maru makes esports dream a reality

After deciding the traditional education system wasn’t for him, Maru Whaanga left school at 13-years-old to become a carpenter.

Harnessing the work-ethic of his father who worked tirelessly for 60 hours a week, Maru has enjoyed a successful 15-year career in building and construction.

Now, Maru is forging a new career path driven by his passion for gaming through the esports programme at New Zealand Institute of Sport (NZIS) based in Ōtāhuhu.

“Having created a comfortable life for my whānau, it’s never been a better time for me to re-enter the classroom.”

Initially, Maru was unsure of his ability to succeed in a tertiary setting, but the words of his mother kept him going.

“Before my mother passed away, she made me promise to acknowledge my potential. She believed I could do anything I put my mind to.”

“Because esports is an emerging phenomenon in New Zealand, I thought, yeah this is my moment to fulfil my promise to my mother – by paving the way for gamers in New Zealand.”

When asked how his studies are going, Maru says he is enjoying learning for the first time.

“The standard schooling experience didn’t work for me as the classes were too big and the curriculum didn’t tap into my interests.”

“At NZIS, I have a close-knit class of 15 people who all share my passion for gaming.”

“Not only that, I get to learn from one of my idols, Manaaki ‘FreshCr0wn’ Vercoe-Kameta, who competed in the APAC division of the international NBA 2k league.”

“I’m glad I took up esports.”

Maru continues to bring a restless energy to everything that he does. On top of his studies, Maru has been contracted to build the set of a new movie – able to live out his passions for both carpentry and esports.

Maru is currently studying a Level 3 Introduction to Esports. Learn more here.