Dancing with the Stars NZ: Glen Osborne kicks off season with Māori-inspired 'kapa haka tango'

Glen Osborne, the All Black-turned-cop, has kicked off his dance career with a stunning Māori-inspired tango.

In the first episode of the new season of Dancing with the Stars NZ, the 47-year-old police officer announced he "likes to win".

"At the end of the day it's a competition and I'm there to win. I'm there to do whatever I can to take it through to the final."

His first routine with partner Vanessa Cole proved that Osborne isn't here to mess around. To the sound of the Patea Māori Club's iconic 1980s hit 'Poi E', the pair strutted around the stage in a tango infused with elements of kapa haka.

It was reminiscent of Marama Fox from last season, who incorporated poi into one of her routines and maintained a strong Māori theme in many of her dances.

Osborne admitted he was "more nervous than [in] a test match" when he stepped off the dance floor, but was full of pride for his hometown, where locals were watching his performance on a giant screen specially erected in the centre of town.

"It's awesome to be here representing the [Ngāti] Hauā of Whanganui," he told host Dai Henwood.

Judge Julz Tocker called the use of Māori dance "amazing".

"Out of the gate, a full-blown kapa haka tango - we've never seen that before."

However he did say Osborne was bumpy in places and needed to keep the rhythm staccato, and went on to score him a 5.

Fellow judge Rachel White called Osborne "exciting and refreshing" with an inviting aura, however said he needs to improve his posture.

"You're known as a legend in New Zealand, come back and be legendary." She gave him a 6.

Camilla Sacre-Dallerup called it a "very interesting routine", saying she liked the effort he'd put into his technique but his frame was inconsistent throughout the dance.

"I am super excited to watch you develop as a dancer," she said before scoring him a 6.

With a respectable score of 17, Osborne was optimistic about his future on the show and is determined to work on his weaker areas.

"You don't become a wonderful dancer overnight."

The next episode of DWTS NZ will air at 7:30pm, Monday on Three. Watch the full episode again on ThreeNow.