WHY THE ROCK?
This campaign may seem outrageous. It may be a moonshot.
But that is because there is no one on the planet better to champion the Pacific Islands than Dwayne Johnson.
A Proud Pacific Islander
Dwayne Johnson comes from a long line of proud Polynesians who have made their mark on the world of sports and entertainment.
His grandfather on his mother's side, Peter Maivia, was a proud Samoan who won wrestling titles in New Zealand and Australia before becoming a staple of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (predecessor to the WWF). He fought under the name "the High Chief." Maivia had very close ties to the Wild Samoans and even featured in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Jonhson's grandmother, Lia, also a proud Samoan, ran Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling in the mid-1980s as one of the sport's first female promoters.
Johnson's father was also a wrestler, the renowned Rocky Johnson, who held titles in the WWF.
Dwayne was born in California and during his childhood spent time living in Auckland, New Zealand and Honolulu, Hawaii. He played rugby during this time in New Zealand.
Throughout all of his career, Johnson has been a symbol of pride for Samoa and the wider Polynesian community. In 2004 he was bestowed the high orator, chiefly title of Seiuli by the Samoan Head of State. During the ceremony he commented, "this is my home, my people, my culture," and, "I promise that I will carry the Seiuli title with pride, dignity and honour."
In the fourteen years since he was awarded this title, he has most definitely upheld his promise, acting as an incredible role model for all Pacific Islanders.
Quite fittingly, Johnson was cast as Māui in the Disney film Moana. The legendary character of Māui features right across Polynesian mythology, from Hawaii down to New Zealand. In 2018 it was announced that he would play the Hawaiian King Kamehameha in an upcoming historical biopic.
Despite all the fame and accolades that come with being Hollywood's leading actor, as well as the World's Sexiest Man (People Magazine, 2016), Johnson has never lost track of his roots. That is the first reason why he is the perfect champion for all the Pacific Islands.
The Mana To Unite the Pacific Islands
One issue that has plagued the advancement of combined Pacific Island rugby initiatives in the past, is the fact that the three nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are all very different culturally. Each has a proud rugby history and unique identity. Such is the importance of the sport in these countries that the rugby unions of each nation are lead by the respective national leaders.
Bringing the three nations together, working to one common goal is no easy feat.
Which is why, it requires someone truly special to galvanise these three countries. Someone with the respect and stature to unite them. Someone with the power to not only unite them, but help them achieve a common goal.
All of this can be summed up in the statement that "it will take immense mana to achieve a unified Pacific Island franchise."
Although mana is difficult to define and translate into English, it is a concept of honour, respect, prestige, efficacy and power.
And based on that, there is no individual on the planet that possesses the mana of Dwayne Johnson.
A Supporter of Pacific Island Rugby
The tweets below are just a few that show Dwayne Johnson to not only be a supporter of Pacific rugby, but unafraid to voice that publicly.