Te Nana was a member of the All Black Sevens team coached by Sir Gordon Titjtens that won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and finished his career with 113 tries.
Raro 7s tournament director Glenda Tuaine said getting Te Nana to the tournament was once again a product of the organisers’ relationship with On Point Athlete Management.
“Karl is a bit of a sevens legend really, and having our relationship with Deon (Smith) at On Point has seen him ready to join us here in November.
“Deon has plenty of contacts and relationships with players back in New Zealand and so many of them are following our tournament and are keen to come and take part. So being able to bring guys over who have a love of the game of rugby sevens, as well as a love of Rarotonga, is ideal.”
After Te Nana finished playing sevens, he began a commentating career with Sky New Zealand and Tuaine said a break in his schedule would allow him to come to Rarotonga.
“Karl is a commentator for Sky across their local rugby NPC as well as covering the majority of the Rugby World Sevens series around the world, so it’s great he has a break to be able to come down here.
“It’s great to be able to bring a guy such as Karl who has such amazing knowledge of not only the game but how to conduct yourself off the field - to bring him here to meet and engage with our young players and show them that this is a sport that can take you places if you have the right attitude and commitment to working hard.”
Tuaine said rugby sevens was continuing to grow into a “hot sport” on the back of being included in the Olympics for the first time in Rio De Janiero in 2016.
“It is a sport that has so many opportunities for both men and women. So far our registrations have filled our women’s competition up with six teams, while we are looking like we will definitely get our 14 men’s teams as well.
“People had suggested that perhaps we should extend the tournament, but really the number of teams we have, is the only way we can produce it over the three days it is currently held.”
Tuaine said it was always a positive to have players like Te Nana and last year’s ambassador, former All Black Liam Messam, give their time to attend.
“Sure these guys get the chance to come here for free, but the time they give up for the love of the game and for the love of Raro is just massive, and we can’t wait for things to kick off in November.”