We met up outside the Lyttelton Coffee Company on a sunny Friday at high noon. A familiar space for us both, but far more so for my coffee date Marlon Williams. It takes him three stops to catch up with locals just to get to the counter. I have always found Lyttelton to be a place of warmth and welcome, because of the people who call it home – people like Marlon Williams.
From the marae to the church to the stadium, Marlon Williams is a pretty big deal these days, although he’s too humble to accept that. He is Ngāi Tahu with whakapapa connections to Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki, Moeraki and Ngāti Waewae through his mum, Jenny Rendall. Born at home on Cashel Street in Ōtautahi, and educated at Christchurch Boys’ High School and University of Canterbury, Canterbury “is always the anchor.” So why is this Marlon’s place to be?