NZ Warriors legend, 'Dancing' winner Manu Vatuvei reveals he faces drug-trafficking charges

Rugby league legend Manu Vatuvei has revealed he's the high-profile sports star facing methamphetamine-related charges.

The 34-year-old was arrested and charged by police in November 2019. Police searched Vatuvei's south Auckland home and allege he possessed methamphetamine for supply and allegedly imported the Class A drug into New Zealand on two separate occasions. 

An interim name-suppression order has prevented the media from naming him for more than a year.

But on Sunday night, just days before his name suppression was due to lapse, Vatuvei took to Instagram to reveal the charges against him.

"Just wanted to get something off my chest, something that's been holding me down for a while now and I'd rather you guys hear it from myself rather than anyone else in the media," Vatuvei says in his Instagram video.

"In 2019, I was charged with importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine. All these charges are accusations and I'll be fighting my innocence for all these charges.

"I know there'll be a lot of questions that are wanting answers, but I've been advised from my legal team that's all I can talk about."

Vatuvei finished by asking the public to respect his family's privacy.

At his name suppression hearing, his lawyer had argued that, because of his status as a high-profile sports star, it would create extreme hardship if he was to be identified. They also argued it could prevent any media opportunities in the future. 

The Crown lawyer argued this justified people knowing what charges he was facing. Vatuvei denies all charges.

Three other people have been charged in relation to the police investigation. 

'The Beast' played 226 games for the Warriors between 2004-17 and still holds their tryscoring record with 152, becoming the first NRL player to score 10 tries in 10 consecutive seasons.

He made 29 appearances for the NZ Kiwis, helping them to the 2008 World Cup crown and earning International Winger of the Year that same year.

In 2019, Vatuvei showed his ability to perform under the bright lights, beating comedian Laura Daniel to win Three's Dancing With The Stars.

"I get anxious when I show a bit of emotion," he said. "I always want to be that tough guy not scared of anything.

"It's definitely something I never knew I'd ever do. I never knew that side of me would come out, especially on television."