Dan Pryor is from Maori rugby royalty and so his elevation to the Maori All Blacks means a lot to him.
The 26-year-old Northland Taniwha loose forward, who impressed all with his high energy, muscular displays during the ITM Cup, has had his sights set on making this team for some time. This caps a big month, in which he landed a Super Rugby deal with the Highlanders, helped the Taniwha into their first taste of playoffs action since 1997, and is now one of 12 new caps in the Maori All Blacks for the tour to Japan.
"There's a bit of history in my family with this team, so it's always been my goal,' said the dreadlocked Pryor.
Those of a more, ahem, elderly vintage will know the name Albie Pryor, a larger than life character who started his rep rugby as a No 8 in Bay of Plenty and ended up as a prop for Auckland.
He racked up 43 games for the Maori All Blacks from 1952-60 and is regarded as unlucky to have never cracked the All Blacks.
He coached Manukau to a 1967 Gallaher Shield triumph.
Albie died in 2000, but his name resonates with grandson Dan Pryor, son of Kevin. Another son, Craig, played cricket for Auckland and Otago.
"I never saw [Albie] play, obviously, but everyone talks about him and his contribution to the Maori. It's a big thing for my family," said Pryor.
There is also Pryor's younger brother Kara, another flanker, who turned in some fine displays for Northland this season.
"He's keen to make this side too, so I'm sure he'll be nipping at the heels soon enough."
In the meantime, Pryor could be used in any of the three loose positions, but coach Colin Cooper has hinted that six or seven could be the option on this tour.
"After Liam [Squire] got ruled out, I was open to anything, but Coops just said he saw me as a No 6 who could play seven. I see myself as versatile, leaning toward No 6 or 8, but I don't mind playing No 7 either," said Pryor.
He has previously been to Japan, on an Auckland Grammar First XV trip a decade ago, and is expecting the Brave Blossoms to present a strong set-piece and good discipline.
Maori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper, himself a former No 8, is looking forward to working with Pryor.
"He was very close last year, but the two guys ahead of him - Shane Christie and Luke Braid - were Super Rugby players. Dan has pushed his way in this time," said Cooper.