Longo’s Samoan family are from Apia and another island in the Polynesian group, and he lived with an uncle, a minister from Western Samoa, when he played gridiron for a college in the USA.
Raised in Hawke’s Bay, the former Lindisfarne College student loves sport and played rugby for the school’s First XV. He was in Hawke’s Bay’s under 18s team and also played rugby league for the region’s Under 20s squad.
A family connection led to playing gridiron for Sacramento City College in California. While injuries cut short his career on the school’s gridiron team, Longo gained qualifications in business administration and social sciences.
Hoping to own his own bakery, he is studying the one-year bakery programme at EIT with a view to achieving financial independence in the States and then settling back in New Zealand.
Longo, who also claims Māori descent, believes Māori and Samoans have similar family cultures and value systems.
“There are strong connections to tradition, church and customs,” he says.