As a student of politics in his native London, Maro Itoje has perhaps cottoned onto the Maori All Blacks' significance on New Zealand shores a little faster than others in the British and Irish Lions squad.
But by the time kick-off arrives on Saturday, the 22-year-old lock will be focused on just one thing: desperately evading a throng of brawny Maori forwards.
Itoje is on the final stretch of a degree in politics and development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, which he combines with his full-time job bashing through opposition defences for England and back-to-back European champions Saracens.
Articulate and polite, Itoje said the chance to face the Maori was a "tremendous challenge" and a privilege for both himself and Lions teammates.
He will start at lock for the Rotorua tussle alongside compatriot George Kruis - a positive omen for Itoje, as the seconds tick down towards next Saturday's first Test.
"We especially know that New Zealand is crazy about rugby and, being in Rotorua, you get a sense of how much it means to the people here," Itoje said.
"I remember we had a Maori welcome in the first couple days of arriving in New Zealand (in Waitangi) and you could sense how much it meant to the warriors who were there, and all the local people - they gained a lot of energy from it.
"It's a tremendous challenge, a challenge everyone's excited for."
Lions head coach Warren Gatland, a Kiwi and Waikato native, likewise needed little introduction to the Maori. Their mana, or authority, spoke for itself in New Zealand.
He said the side, as one of the few in sport chosen on genealogy, is unique and able to call on a squad capable of upsetting the Lions.
"The players are incredibly proud to put that jersey on and represent not just the people of New Zealand, but their own tribes, where they're from," Gatland said.
"The backs look a little bit stronger than they did six or seven months ago, (so) we're excited about the quality of team we're up against."
Itoje kicked off his Lions campaign in the loss to the Blues last Wednesday, before coming off the bench in the gritty win over the Crusaders.
As the youngest man in Gatland's squad, he's been tasked with carrying "BIL" - the team's plush Lion mascot - from city to city and to matches.
He said he had enjoyed the Lions experience so far.
"It's tough out here but these are the types of challenges we enjoy, the types of challenges that are more fulfilling once we accomplish (them)," Itoje said.