From Karen and Slim Pene to their son, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene:

A week before your second birthday we took your trainer wheels off so you could do the jumps in the backyard with your brother and sister. We didn't realise what would follow.

At the young age of 4 you were riding the national downhill track on a GT Chucker and you won your first New Zealand BMX national title on your fifth birthday.

We couldn't keep you off your bike and six more national BMX titles were to follow while you thought you were just having fun with your mates on two wheels - as well as playing rugby, hockey and paddling waka ama.

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The realisation was that being on your bike was your happy place. And you spent many years chasing the pros down the hill. You believed that if they can do big jumps you could too.

Our family motto is "If you believe, you will achieve" and you definitely live by that.

After playing for many years, you focused on your dream and worked hard every weekend, washing bikes at Mountain Bike Rotorua to buy your own downhill bike.

Last year, we took a punt and went to Whistler, Canada, to get a taste of international competition. You rode outstandingly, but came home with a broken collarbone.

This did not deter your aspirations and you went on to win the New Zealand Under-19 Downhill Mountain Bike title at the age of 16.

Crankworx Rotorua has opened the door to your journey, pursuing a career as a professional mountain biker.

We never thought we would be sending you off to Europe, this year for a month without us, to compete in two Crankworx events and two world cups where you consistently rode with passion, securing great results.

As parents, it's one of the hardest things to sit on the other side of the world waiting to hear if you made your way down the track safely.

One of the main comments we hear from the mountain bike community is how humble and unassuming you are.

You can walk among world elite riders as easily as you hang out with your family and your mates from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata because you are comfortable inside your skin and you know who you are and where you want to go.


We all know your brother, Ihakara, would be whakahihi/proud of your achievements and how you represent our whānau and your Māoritanga.

We believe he is your kaitiaki on your shoulder with everything you do.

And now, you've been named by Cycling New Zealand to represent New Zealand at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland in September.

We'd like to thank all our friends and family who have supported you to follow your dream, along with your sponsors Santa Cruz, 100%, Whakarewarewa Living Village, Southstar Shuttles, Kaitiaki Adventures, Offroad Adventures Queenstown, JTK Gym, Descend Rotorua and Taupo Tandem Skydive.

Tuhoto-Ariki, keep being you - by working hard, training hard, especially having fun and if you believe, you will achieve. We are so proud of you!

Arohanui, Mum & Dad