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‘Didn’t kick in till we did the haka’ - Kiwi Fern from Wairoa

Riria Dalton-Reedy

Amelia Pasikala (Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa) debuted for the Kiwi Ferns in Townsville last week in what she describes as a ‘surreal’ experience.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Henry gives insight into the game plan for their upcoming match against Tonga, following last week’s 16-10 loss to the Jillaroos.

“We’re more or less trying to give everyone a bit of a run there,” he says. “Our goal is really to build towards the 2026 World Cup and these young women are getting an opportunity to play and cement their place in the team.”

Pasikala has high hopes for her future, and wants to pave the way for her people at home.

“Especially back home in small towns,” she says.

“We don’t have [many] resources and facilities, so we make do with what we [have]”.

Although her current focus remains with league, Pasikala hasn’t lost sight of a future in rugby union.

“I haven’t stepped away from that union passion and I really want a Black Fern jersey.”

“And also to get an Māori All Stars jersey - that’s something I wanna work towards.”

The Kiwi Ferns will play Mate Ma’a Tonga Womens on Saturday as part of the Pacific Championships triple-header at Eden Park - a highly-anticipated campaign following last year’s World Cup hype, and the return of the Kiwis A team for the first time in 17 years.

Saturday 21 October:

Kiwis A v Tonga A: 1.30pm

Kiwi Ferns v Tonga: 3.45pm

Kiwis v Toa Samoa: 6pm

Hero image: Back in training to prepare for Tonga in the Eden Park Triple Header this weekend. Photo: FILE / Whakaata Māori.

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