“Study is full-on right now,” says the 21-year-old, who was in the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Academy and Under 20s squad for two years but is focused now on completing his Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design.
In the third and final year of his degree, Zane says the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, which is helping support him with an EIT study scholarship, is being very understanding about his ordering of priorities.
“They know that once I finish my studies, I’ll be keen to get back into the game.”
Sporting excellence is in the genes of this quietly-spoken flanker, who still manages to play club rugby for Havelock North. Born and raised in Wairoa, Zane proudly points out that his parents, Sara and Kelvin Rangi, and other family members have quite a track record in sports.
His father, who got involved in Kong Chang when Zane was at intermediate school, has a black belt in the martial art. At 42, his mother recently won a Fight for Life boxing match against a girl half her age.
Zane attributes not only his rugby talent but also his general athletic ability to his grandparents who he says were all talented at sports. The father of Sara, Zane’s grandfather Mike Bird was a very good athlete. “Back in the day, he was into rowing, boxing and rugby too, of course.”
The mother of Kelvin, Zane’s grandmother Joe Edwards is still is a very capable athlete. “At 65, she is playing competitive tennis down in Waipukurau almost every year. It’s in the blood on both sides of the whanau.”
At Napier Boys’ High School, where he was deputy head of the hostel and head of sport, Zane filled his art portfolios with paintings. Moving to EIT, he realised the art and design world offered many other possibilities.
“Coming here exposed me to a lot of new stuff and I was blown away at first.”
Attracted to computer design, drawing and model-making, he has made spatial design his focus. This year, he drew up plans for a joint entry in a design competition open to level-7 spatial design students at EIT. The brief was to explore the potential of Napier’s Marine Parade, and the design submitted by Zane and three of his classmates was among the top four chosen for further development.
“I enjoyed doing an applied project,” he says. “That was the most important part of the whole experience. As a real project, we had to present to real clients and there was all the pressure that comes from that. I am stoked with what our team achieved.”
Once he finishes his degree, Zane hopes to find architectural work in Hawke’s Bay where he can be close to his family.
“I miss being in Wairoa,” he says. “When I go back everything seems to be slower, more cruisey, and everything is there for me – my whanau, including my brothers Thornton and Brock, and also my Nannies and Popps.
“The time will come when I go overseas to see the world and I hope that may come with rugby or mahi.”