Whānau dream comes true - "I cried tears of absolute joy"

By Kelvin McDonald
'Without Dad's encouragement years ago none of this would be happening.' Pro rider Kahurangi Day-Brown (centre), mum Rachel and brother Makaia. 

A dream has come true for a Māori boy and his whānau.  But, if anyone could have had a bigger smile than Kahurangi Day-Brown, it would have been his late father Tracy Brown who dreamed this day with his boys.

Fifteen-year-old Kahu is an extreme sport scooter rider ranked no.1 in NZ and, after an amazing result in Brisbane last month, no.5 in Australasia for his age. 

WATCH Kahu's 5th place ride at the Australasian championships in Brisbane in April.

On Wednesday his whānau sprung a huge surprise on him.  He had no idea he was about to be known around the world or that he would make his dad's hopes for him come true.

Kahu's mum Rachel Day-Brown (Ngāi Tahu) kept the big news, that his international sponsor Madd Gear was keen to sign him to a professional contract, a secret to make the day an extra bit special for her son.

"This is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep."

Rachel Day-Brown says, "I  just wish Tracy was beside me to share that moment." Photo/Supplied.

Day-Brown says Kahu's sponsor rang her after the Australasian championships to ask for permission for him to turn professional.

"I cried tears of absolute joy," she says. "I  just wish Tracy was beside me to share that moment but his pounamu was in my hand.  He is absolutely guiding our boys along the path he mapped out for them before he left.  It’s amazing."

Kahu and dad Tracy Brown who encouraged his sons to become competitive scooter riders. Photo/Supplied.

Tracy Brown (Ngāti Raukawa ki Tainui/Ngāti Whātua) passed away from cancer when Kahu was just 13 and youngest son Makaia was 10.  His dream was that his boys would one day become pros.

It's Brown who encouraged his sons to go from playing at skate parks to competing at the NZ scooter nationals, telling them "Go up and test out who you are.'" 

WATCH the promo for Kahu's special day that his mum kept secret to make it extra special.

On Kahu's big day, Day-Brown convinced her boys to head to Washington Way Skate Park in Christchurch with her so a TV crew could film a few shots they missed previously because of sound problems.

In on the secret, Te Ao arranged for our camera operator to meet the whānau at the skate park and capture the life-changing phone call Kahu was about to receive.

None the wiser, Kahu was scootering about with his brother when the phone rang and his mum finally got to enjoy the moment she'd been so patiently waiting for.

A "mic drop" moment for Kahu. WATCH the life-changing telephone call between Kahu and Madd Gear's Ricky Malcolm.

It was Madd Gear's Ricky Malcolm, who was also in on the surprise, that rang Kahu with the happy news. 

After building up the drama a little with the "really important question, what did you get your mum for Mother's Day?" ("I got her a really nice, well thought, card," was Kahu's reply), Malcolm finally broke the news.

"Based on those answers and the fact you're doing so damn great for us, I just want to see if you're keen to stick on with us this year and really keen to see if you want to have a promotion to pro?"

That was a "mic drop" moment for Kahu. "That would be really... that would be mad, yeah!" he said excitedly.

"It's highly likely Kahu will get a huge global following on social media," Madd Gear's Ricky Malcolm.  Photo/MaddGear

Malcolm says Kahu is joining the big time, with scootering now more mainstream and featured in extreme sports events like Nitro Circus and the X-Games.

"He's going to be one of the younger pros in the world."

If Kahu keeps improving and taking out titles, Malcolm says he's on track to perform in front of huge crowds at competitions like Spain's Extreme Barcelona or the World Roller Games "where thousands of people will be in the crowd checking out these scooter riders from all around the world."

Kahu is also going to need to get used to being known around the world, as his sponsor moves to promote him through their global network. 

"It's highly likely Kahu will get a huge global following on social media and he'll be known by people all over the world," says Malcolm, "We've seen some of our riders in the past get messages from kids over in Sweden, Germany, America."

Kahu's got all the world in front of him now and it's over to him to make the step up.

"It's all about how they're proving themselves along the way," says Malcolm. "So, it's not just one big golden ticket, he's going to have to keep this up."

Kahu's mum has been the glue that's held her boys together after their dad passed away.

"I've been a scooter mum for a while now, but this opens up the world for Kahu now he's professional," she says.

"Dad was the one who wanted these boys to have goals and do their scootering and start competing so without his encouragement years ago none of this would be happening."