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Ponga eager to tap into Maori heritage

After making his Queensland Origin debut last year, Kalyn Ponga is hoping to realise another dream by playing for the New Zealand Maori in the Harvey Norman All-Stars clash.

Ponga is hoping to further connect with his Maori heritage.

This game would give him that opportunity which is something very special to both him and his family.

"My dad's Maori, he was born and raised there, I was a bit different, born in Australia but moved there when I was young," Ponga said.

"It's a side of me that I haven't really been able to tap into so being able to play in this game, the camp leading up and all that is involved in that allows me to do so, it's pretty exciting.

"It's huge, obviously I played for Queensland and I pledged my allegiance there, so to be able to connect with my heritage side and play for the New Zealand Maoris is special, it's exciting and to my family it's very important."

Ponga keen to tap into Maori heritage

The 20-year-old is expecting the encounter to be hard-fought match.

With plenty of pride and passion from both cultures, Ponga knows plenty is at stake.

"Yeah I have watched All-Star verses Indigenous games and the Indigenous side is always strong," he said.

"You look at the players that are in the NRL it's going to be a great game, a great match-up and yeah it will be a great contest.

"When you watch the Indigenous side go out there, they go out there 100 percent and that's the same way that we will be treating it, as we are playing for pride and for our culture so just like the Indigenous team we will be going hard."