Oamaru’s loss is Invercargill’s gain.
When Taneisha Fifita (18) moves south to take up her contract with the Southern Steel, after completing her final year at Waitaki Girls’ High School, she will be joined by the rest of her talented sporting family.
Taneisha has earned her first ANZ Premiership contract and will be a permanent addition to the defensive ranks of the Southern Steel next season, graduating through the training partner system and impressing in the three games she played earlier this year.
The Oamaru teenager said she was looking forward to being with the team for the whole season, and getting more involved in the Southland community.
“The past few years I have been down there as a training partner by myself.
“It wasn’t lonely because I got to hang out with the girls, it is a pretty cool environment.
“But it will be good to have that family life.”
Her ultimate goal is to one day play for the Silver Ferns and Southern Steel chief executive officer Lana Winders said that was within reach for the 1.85m defender.
“We have a comprehensive performance pathway, which [Taneisha] has been on for a few years now.
“She is on that because we believe she has the potential to go all the way.”
Winders said Taneisha had responded well to the Steel’s development pathway.
“It was possibly one of the easiest decisions we made when it came to recruitment for the 2020 roster.
“She got some quality court time earlier in the year and demonstrated how well she was going to go stepping up [to the ANZ premiership].
“She has great vision in terms of her ability to predict what her shooters are going to do.”
Taneisha is already on the national radar – at present, she is in Auckland with the New Zealand secondary schools netball team.
Apart from her exceptional sporting ability, Taneisha is like any other teenager.
“I just like spending time with my friends and family and I am quite into fashion, I like making clothes.”
As the family prepares to move south, Southland Girls’ High School has expressed an interest in attracting Taneisha’s younger sisters Losa (15) and Maikale (16), who have both impressed for Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike this year.
For the Fifita family, moving to help a family member’s sporting career is nothing new.
Taneisha’s father Tevita, who played for North Otago, played professional rugby in Japan between 2005 and 2010.
“We are all really excited, I prefer watching my kids play these days,” he said.
With plenty of friends and family in Oamaru, the family will be making regular trips back to visit.