Richard Kahui was already having a great day, celebrating fellow All Black Liam Messam’s 100th rugby game, when he got the phone call asking when he’d be home. “It was the kind of barbecue that has the ability to kick on, so I rang Richard to tell him his parents were here,” explains his wife of just two months Amy (29).
But while Richard’s mum Patricia and stepdad Ray were in the house, that wasn’t why the Cambridge schoolteacher needed to talk to Richard (27). “We had discussed having kids one day, but weren’t trying, or even thinking about it – it was less than two weeks before our wedding day,” she explains.
“We were due to go out to Aaron Cruden and Grace King’s engagement party that night, and I had run to the chemist to get some make-up. My period had been a bit late, so I just grabbed a pregnancy test while I was there”.
“I went home, took the test, put it on the bathroom floor, got up, walked around for a bit, then thought, ‘I’d best go check that test.’ And there it was – blue.”
With the man she was due to marry still out, Amy called Patricia into the bathroom.
“I asked her, ‘Does this mean what I think it does?’ She said, ‘Yes love, I think it does.’ And I couldn’t help it – I started to cry.”
Although his parents knew the exciting news, it wasn’t until Amy had Richard back home that he found out he was going to be a dad.
“She pulled me into the bedroom and said, ‘I have to talk to you,’” explains Richard. “She sat me on the bed, and although she’d thought of all these different ways to tell me, in the end she just came straight out with it and said, ‘Babe, I’m pregnant,’” he remembers.
“I honestly didn’t believe her – I didn’t even know it could happen that fast!”
After repeatedly asking Amy if she was sure, a very stunned Richard suggested a couple more tests.
“I think she did about three or four more,” he smiles. “Then I thought it might have been a faulty packet, so I drove her up to the local Westfield centre and asked her to take another test then and there.” So Amy did.
“I took them in the Westfield toilets!” laughs Amy. “I ran out and showed him – and he was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s real.”
“For me,” says Amy, “to be honest I felt relieved. It was something that we wanted so much, but you just never really know until you actually get pregnant if you can or not.
“I know so many people that have tried and tried and tried without getting pregnant. I think that is why I cried. I was just so relieved.”
With the wedding so close, the two had a lot of other things on their minds, but found time to share the news with both sets of parents.
“My parents (Jennifer and Justin) flew in and we went up to Auckland to see them,” says Amy. “I was a bit nervous because we weren’t married yet. I don’t know why. They were absolutely thrilled. Dad gave me a hug and mum yelled, ‘Oh my god,’ and then started bawling her eyes out. They were so excited.”
As for Richard’s parents: “I think not just for the fact that we are having a baby, but they really adore Amy as well,” before laughing that his mother, a milk truck driver, has told half of Tokoroa – and he’s expecting a pile of knitted baby garments to be delivered soon.
Richard says knowing a baby is on the way is “better than winning the World Cup, and I imagine it will be even better once we have the baby“.
“It will be the best moment of our lives. I can’t believe we have to wait nine months.”
He is a little more familiar with the territory than his wife – Amy has no nieces or nephews, but in the Kahui family there are six grandchildren.
“All my brothers and sisters have kids and I love hanging around them and having fun with them,” Richard says.
“I just always waited for the day when it was my turn.”
If Richard has his way, there will soon be a lot more. “He thinks we are going to have five under five,” says Amy. “I said we’ll just see how the first one goes. I’d be breastfeeding for a long time.”
Their baby is due December 2 – and Amy says she hopes it won’t arrive late.
“My 30th is on the 10th and I want to have a wine actually on my birthday,” she jokes.
In the meantime, pregnancy has been an occasionally bumpy ride.
“The Monday after the wedding I was sick for the whole week,” says Amy, who vomited in the car driving to her job as a teacher at St Peter’s College.
“It clicked over at six weeks. I was sick as and then it eased, and I just felt like the hungriest lady in New Zealand.”
Hormones did their worst.
“One morning I said to Richard, ‘I can’t find anything to wear, nothing fits,’ and I started feeling all crazy.
“He began backing out of the wardrobe, step by step. In my head I was like, ‘You’re a psycho,’ but I couldn’t help it.”
On another occasion, just slipping out of one of her jandals caused Amy to “bawl my eyes out. Poor Richard was like a stunned mullet, he didn’t know what to do”.
But Richard will know what to do by the time the baby arrives. He intends to go to antenatal classes with Amy – and when it comes to the birth, “I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss that for the world. I was born to be a dad.”
Depending on how quickly Richard can recover from his recent shoulder injury, the birth may well take place in Japan, where he hopes to be playing for his club Toshiba. That possibility doesn’t faze Amy.
“If we’re in Japan, then I’ll have the baby in Japan. I would never consider having the baby without Richard there. I’ve talked to a couple of people that have had babies over there, and they say the healthcare is amazing”.
“One of the rugby player’s wives said she’ll come and take me to all the appointments.”
That spirit of togetherness among rugby wives, with regards to children, also applies to other players. “They’re all excited,” says Richard. “It’s amazing how the landscape has changed from when I first became a Chief.
We were all pretty much single boys, and now a lot of guys are married and have kids. All the young ones play together and the wives hang out, so it’s a cool environment”.
“We have other friends who have recently become pregnant, so it’s been great to share the excitement with people in a similar position.”
The couple also has a good – but not definite – idea of what sex the baby is.
“We do, but Richard doesn’t want to say. It’s still not really 100%.” Boy or girl, Richard and Amy both agree they won’t fall into the celebrity name trap – no Juniper Heffalump or Formica Daffodils for these two.
“The way our relationship is,” says Richard, “we like things pretty standard. We have the same sort of feeling about things. We have a few names we quite like and we’ve tried calling the baby different ones.
“We’ve narrowed the list down. We’ll see what grows on the baby over the next few months.”
The two have also been shopping. “We bought a little white Country Road jumpsuit that we get out now and then, and Richard pretended it was the baby.
He might not like me saying that but, oh well, he was rocking it and shhhing it,” laughs Amy.
Richard’s happy to admit he’s started talking to his unborn child. “Apparently their ears are formed now in the hearing system,” he says.
“It’s exciting to come down under the covers and say a few words. Talk as much as you can – I suppose you want your kids to know who you are.”
This child will know he or she is loved very much and is the precious repository of two people’s hopes and dreams.
“We have already done little photos on a chalkboard,” says Amy. “We write ‘I love you already’ and stuff like that on it.
“My hopes are that they are a happy, independent sort of person. We want to bring up a good person. I’ve got strong ideas – and so does Richard – about right and wrong.”
But Amy, in many ways a reserved character who thrives on stability, doesn’t want a carbon copy of herself.
“We want somebody who explores more than I do. I’d love for my baby to grow up and feel they can go anywhere.”
For Richard’s part, he wants to “bring our child – or children probably – up in a real safe, happy environment, where they feel like they can express themselves and discover who they are on their own, though with us helping them”.
He says his own childhood didn’t include a lot in the way of money or material possessions, but “we never felt like we didn’t have anything”.
“We were never rich, like we could never travel around the world, but the one thing we did get brought up with was really good values and morals.”
As for having a future All Black, Richard’s not fussed. “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl. If it’s a boy and wants to be an All Black, good on him. If he wants to be a musician or whatever, I’d be happy just to see my kids happy.”
Both Richard and Amy see the prospect of parenthood as the next step in their relationship.
“This is the most exciting job in the world,” says Richard. “I’m glad we are, firstly, able to have kids, because we know some people aren’t, but we really are blessed to achieve something so special with each other.”
Photography by Emma Bass, Hair and make-up by Elise Wilson, Styling by Emma Aubin.