The biggest sporting challenge Zaria Kira is facing is . . . which one?
The St Kevin’s College year 10 pupil spent the last weekend of the school holidays playing for an Otago under-17 team at the Te Waipounamu (South Island) Maori Rugby Festival.
Not only did her team win, but Zaria (Ngati Ruanui) was named player of the festival in her grade.
“It was really surprising,” Zaria said.
The tournament had five different age grades, and teams also took part in cultural activities off the field.
Zaria, who plays first or second five, said learning haka and powhiri was a new experience for some of the girls.
Opportunities to attend Maori sports tournaments were not always well known, but she recommended them to anyone who was eligible.
Zaria also represents St Kevin’s at basketball and netball, named as a talented player at the Netball South year 9 and 10 zone tournament, and plays in the school’s touch team which will attend the national championships in December.
“It definitely helps my fitness, playing so many sports.
“I might have to drop one of them next year so I’m not so busy and have time to study . . . I still want to do well in school.”
Her favourite sport was “definitely rugby” and she would like to one day play for the Otago Spirit and the Black Ferns.
“I like the physical part of it.”
She thanked her family for their support, making countless trips from their home near Kakanui to various sporting events.
“It’s tough for my family always taking me in and out of town, they are always coming to watch.”