Hamilton-based business owner and entrepreneur Rawiri Marshall (Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou) is one of the main spearheads behind retired NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony’s visit to Aotearoa in April this year.
His company The Nook, which he established in May 2023, aims to bring global sports celebrities to Aotearoa.
“We are trying to come out with something a bit different, and that’s going to be sports athletes and how we can bring them to the country,” says Marshall.
Carmelo Anthony boasts a career adorned with remarkable accomplishments and accolades. Known for his scoring prowess and versatility on the court, Anthony has received numerous All-Star selections, scoring titles and Olympic gold medals, solidifying his status as one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Beyond his athletic feats, Anthony’s philanthropic endeavours shine brightly. Since retiring, he has remained dedicated to uplifting communities through his charitable initiatives. His foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through education and sports, continues to make profound impacts across various cities. Anthony’s commitment to social justice causes and his efforts to foster positive change, exemplify his enduring legacy both on and off the basketball court.
Culture at the forefront
Marshall said the deal came about when he connected with a business partner in Australia, which quickly led to a visit to the US.
“It was hardcase, we were just watching an episode of MTV cribs and then the next day I’m ringing the doorbell at Carmelo Anthony’s mansion.
“It’s something that he’s looking forward to. He’s made a lot of money, spent money, done a lot of travelling and done a lot of things, but he is at the point in his life where he wants to make more meaningful memories, and a lot of it he wants to base it around culture.”
Marshall says his passion for sharing Māori culture comes from his journey growing up in Australia reconnecting with his taha Māori and learning te reo in his adulthood.
“I gifted him with a pounamu and gave him the kōrero behind that... and as soon as he put it on he said, ‘yeah I can feel it’.
“They [celebrities] have a massive following and platform, so how can we use that to showcase the beauty of our culture here in Aotearoa?”
Inspiring the next generation
Marshall says that a big part of their business model at The Nook is to inspire rangatahi and get them involved in their business ventures.
“One of our current business partners is only 14 years old,” says Marshall.
“He’s learning the ropes of business, and this is his first event so we are trying to get him to believe in himself.
“He’s already a great athlete but we are trying to help him understand that he can be more than just an athlete.”
Anthony will make his way to Auckland in mid-April where he will host a speaking event at Auckland’s Great Hall, discussing his illustrious 20-year career, playing amongst other legends, how he triumphed against all odds, and more.