Sonny Bill Williams Ethnicity: Religion & Nationality

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When discussing Sonny Bill Williams’ ethnicity, it’s essential to remember that he hails from a diverse background, with a mixture of cultural influences from both of his parents.

He frequently speaks out for the minor ethnicity and religion, which are often dominated by the social structures. 

Sonny Bill Williams Getting Ready For His Sparring Session
Sonny Bill Williams Getting Ready For His Sparring Session (Source: Instagram)

Sonny Williams was born on 3 August 1985 in Auckland, New Zealand. A jack of many trades, he is a heavyweight boxer and a former professional rugby league and rugby union player.

He attended Owairaka School, Wesley Intermediate, and Mount Albert Grammar School.

As a kid, he was called a “small, skinny white kid” and was shy, but he excelled in sports as a top performer.

Williams began his career in rugby league, playing as a second-row forward in the NRL for eight seasons, with stints at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters.

He is just the second person to have represented New Zealand in rugby union, initially representing the country in rugby league.

Furthermore, Sonny is among only 21 players who won the Rugby World Cup twice.

Along with 12 New Zealand caps, he earned Rookie of the Year (2004) and International Player of the Year (2013) awards.

Sonny Bill Williams Ethnicity

Just like he is a jack of many trades when it comes to sports, Sonny Bill Williams also draws his lineage and ethnicity from many backgrounds. 

His father, Ioane (“John”) Williams, is a Samoan by birth but living in New Zealand.

Samoans, also known as Samoan people, are the indigenous Polynesian people of the Samoan Islands, a Polynesian archipelago, who speak the Samoan language.

Their home islands are officially and physically divided between the Independent State of Samoa and American Samoa.

Sonny Bill Williams Embracing His Ethnicity And Religion At A Pilgrimage
Sonny Bill Williams Embracing His Ethnicity And Religion At A Pilgrimage (Source: Instagram)

Polynesian commerce, religion, war, and colonialism are all essential markers of Polynesian culture. All of these trait are said to be deeply rooted in Samoan society.

Maybe it’s because of Sonny’s ethnicity that drove a desire to box and follow his religious devotion. 

On the other hand, his mother, Lee Woolsey, comes from a diverse ethnic background too. She is half-New Zealander and half-Australian.

What About His Religion? 

Williams decided to adopt Islam in 2009 when he was in France. He claims it helped him when he became disoriented in the turbulent world of professional sports.

In 2018, he went on an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and also visited Medina. He admits that he faced much criticism and discrimination because of this conversion. 

Sonny remains committed to his path and ignores negativity, despite criticism for changing religions.

Some of his Christian teammates struggled with his conversion but talked it out and found common ground. 

Sonny Bill Williams Is A Proud Muslim
Sonny Bill Williams Is A Proud Muslim (Source: Instagram)

Throughout his career, Williams has been an ardent advocate for Polynesian, Mori, and Muslim communities and aspired to be “a voice for the voiceless.”

In 2019, he expressed deep condolences for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings with tears in his eyes.

Williams passionately criticized China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, highlighting the disturbing choice of prioritizing the economy over humanity.

Talking about his nationality, he holds dual citizenship in New Zealand and Samoa.

Sonny Bill Williams Met Wife Through Their Shared Faith: Meet Their Children

Williams married his wife Alana Raffie without wasting any time after meeting her. Williams met Alana Raffie in 2013 while working at a retail store.

But she was first hesitant to give the football star her phone number. A few weeks later, Williams did manage to land a date, but it was a double date. 

Sonny Bill Williams With His Wife Alana Raffie
Sonny Bill Williams With His Wife Alana Raffie (Source: Instagram)

Her cousin and cousin’s husband would chaperone the date. They prioritized an Islamically correct approach from the start, always having a chaperone during the initial four weeks.

Williams and Raffie took the plunge and married one month after meeting, hoping that love would blossom over time.

They now have four children together, and he attributes their commitment to Islam to putting a stop to his days as a womanizer.

He shared a very happy tweet in 2022 after his wife decided to put on the Hijab. 

Bibek Dhoj Thapa
Bibek Dhoj Thapa

Bibek Dhoj Thapa

Bibek Dhoj Thapa is a seasoned sports journalist with a passion for uncovering the untold stories behind athletes' achievements. His articles offer readers a captivating glimpse into the world of sports, from the thrill of victory to the dedication and sacrifice required to reach the top.


Inspirational Stories Sports Lifestyle


  • He provides insightful analysis and commentary on the latest sporting events,with a deeper understanding of the strategies & tactics.
  • He explores the off-field lives of athletes.


Bibek Dhoj's passion for sports journalism is rooted in a love of competition and a fascination with the human stories behind athletic achievement. With years of experience covering sports events and personalities, he has honed his skills in research, interviewing, and storytelling, earning accolades for his insightful and engaging articles.

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