City teen go­ing places in sport and tech are­nas

Christchurch Mail - - YOUR PLACE - ED­U­CA­TION

Christchurch teen Halle Pi­tama is rid­ing a roller­coaster as a sportswoman and fledg­ling entrepreneur.

The 13-year-old Haeata Com­mu­nity Cam­pus stu­dent, one of the youngest play­ers in the Can­ter­bury Sec­ondary Schools rugby team to win the South Is­land cham­pi­onships, has ar­rived in San Fran­cisco for a Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) boot­camp in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

‘‘It’s been a bit crazy,’’ Halle said.

Her se­lec­tion for Sil­i­con Val­ley came through a part­ner­ship of Nga¯i Tahu’s ed­u­ca­tion arm Te Ta­puae o Re¯hua with Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion and NZQA. The boot­camp seeks to in­spire young Ma¯ori to trans­form them­selves and their en­vi­ron­ment by risk­tak­ing and ex­plor­ing.

The rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process in­cluded a video in which Halle out­lined why she wanted to find ways to in­crease the use of te reo ma¯ori by young peo­ple in so­cial me­dia.

‘‘If you want to be flu­ent you need to be im­mersed in the lan­guage. So­cial me­dia plays a huge part in that for young peo­ple but we only use English on Face­book or In­sta­gram and that is what I hope to change,’’ said Halle.

Halle sub­mit­ted a video of three-and-a-half min­utes in­stead of the pre­scribed 30 sec­onds. The cal­cu­lated risk paid off.

At the same time, she was also mak­ing waves on the rugby field. She switched from net­ball to rugby mid­way through the year and af­ter only five games was in­vited to trial for the Can­ter­bury Sec­ondary Schools team.

‘‘I never thought of it as a game for girls but have re­ally en­joyed play­ing rugby, even though I come from a league fam­ily’’ she said.

She is the daugh­ter of for­mer league rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mathias Pi­tama and sis­ter of Shel­don Pi­tama who last sea­son cap­tained the Ju­nior War­riors.

Halle’s rapid rise in rugby was

‘‘It's been a bit crazy’’

as­sisted by her school coach Jesse Hansen, daugh­ter of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who tipped off her sis­ter Whit­ney, coach of the Can­ter­bury Sec­ondary Schools team. ‘‘I wouldn’t have been able to get this far so quickly with­out the amaz­ing sup­port I get at Haeata,’’ Halle said.

Halle im­pressed at the tri­als and was soon the youngest player in the team lin­ing up in the front row against 17 and 18-year-olds. Can­ter­bury won the fi­nal against a Hanan Shield se­lec­tion 21-19.

Christchurch teen Halle Pi­tama.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.