Black Fern rises above dark days

DAILY GRIND Black Fern Doris Ta­u­fateau is now a teacher at her old stomp­ing ground, Ta­maki Col­lege. Lau­ren Priestley sat down with her to find out why she loves be­ing back at high school.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Doris Ta­u­fateau won’t deny she was a trou­ble-maker as a young­ster.

The 26-year-old Glen Innes woman says she had no fear at school, strug­gled with au­thor­ity is­sues and just lived life the way she wanted.

But by year 13 she had pulled her­self to­gether and was se­lected as Ta­maki Col­lege’s deputy head girl.

She is now work­ing as a health and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher at her old high school and uses her own ex­pe­ri­ences to help others.

‘‘I just think about what I used to do and I feel bro­ken hearted. But my past has made me who I am to­day and my ex­pe­ri­ences help me to re­late to the youth here. I can un­der­stand the teenage is­sues and say ‘I’ve been there be­fore’.’’

Miss Ta­u­fateau has been rugby-mad ever since she was a tot grow­ing up in Glen Innes. Af­ter fin­ish­ing high school she con­tin­ued the sport at Col­lege Ri­fles in 2007 and by 2008 she was play­ing for the Black Ferns.

Her proud­est achieve­ment was play­ing prop in the Black Ferns squad when they won the World Cup in 2010.

‘‘I was such a tomboy as a lit­tle kid. I used to hang out with the boys and they played rugby so I did too,’’ she says.

‘‘I was one of those kids where my par­ents would plait my hair with rib­bons and as soon as I left the house I would pull it out.’’

She en­joys the phys­i­cal­ity of the game as well as the strong team re­la­tion­ships she has built.

When school wraps up this year she will start train­ing for the 2014 World Cup team se­lec­tion. She is cur­rently in a squad of 80 pre­par­ing for the chance to play on the world stage.

Miss Ta­u­fateau com­pleted her teach­ing de­gree ear­lier this year and her im­me­di­ate thought was to get a teach­ing po­si­tion at her old high school.

And she’s made a real dif­fer­ence. Ta­maki Col­lege stu­dents made a short film about her jour­ney and achieve­ments for the Pa­cific Achiev­ers pro­ject last month.

‘‘The kids had to choose a pos­i­tive as­pect from their school and they chose me. I just couldn’t be­lieve it.’’

Miss Ta­u­fateau is over­whelm­ingly proud of her school and says there are so many top achiev­ers emerg­ing from its halls.

‘‘There’s a whole com­mu­nity out there wait­ing for us to make a wrong move. I don’t think peo­ple un­der­stand what po­ten­tial could come out of this school.

‘‘This school just gave me chance af­ter chance – it’s been so good to me. Any­thing to put Ta­maki Col­lege on the map for me is a good thing.’’

Photo: LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

School days: Doris Ta­u­fateau is pas­sion­ate about work­ing with youth.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see the short film on Doris Ta­u­fateau.

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