Tawera made his name in the highly competitive world of rugby league, playing with South Auckland club Otahuhu before starting his professional career in England where he played with the Castleford Tigers, Sheffield and Warrington. He later moved to Australia to join the Cronulla Sharks and then to the newly formed Melbourne Storm, where he was part of the 1999 premiership winning team and where he is still acknowledged and celebrated as one of their best ever players.
A veteran of 19 tests for New Zealand as a forward, Tawera went on to captain the New Zealand Maori team at the Rugby League World Cup and has been inducted into the New Zealand Legends of League. Tawera’s passion and contribution to league continues as he currently sits on the NZRL Board of Directors and is a selector for the New Zealand Kiwis.
In 2003 he had his right leg amputated due to complications from injuries suffered in a motorbike accident. The traits that made him a sporting champion enabled him to excel in other areas. Tawera is now an ambassador for the Achilles Foundation which gives people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in mainstream events. He has completed the New York Marathon three times and in 2010, 2015 completed the Oxfam 100km Trail Walker which raises funds to support Oxfam New Zealand.
As acknowledgment for his contributions Tawera has been appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Rugby League and the community and in 2011 recognized as an Emerging Leader by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.
Tawera is Managing Director of Team One International a training company which is dedicated to “Unleashing Human Potential”. He brings a wealth of experience in high-performance sports and effortlessly translates this knowledge into clear insights in the areas of leadership and an organisation’s culture.
Tawera has been working on the Professional speaking circuit in Australasia for over fifteen years and is highly sought after as audiences find his life story truly inspiring and motivational. He is a living example of someone who refuses to quit no matter how hard he is hit. An excellent communicator, people from all walks of life appreciate his down-to-earth presentation style.