Volleyball dream comes at a cost
A talented Porirua athlete is poised for big things.
Camilla Time Tautua, 15, was named in the New Zealand under17 girls’ volleyball programme earlier this year, and from the development squad has been selected in the team to face Australia in a test series in July.
The Porirua College student is ecstatic to be given the chance to play at an international level and trains for volleyball most days of the week, as well as playing basketball, netball, and working hard at school.
‘‘She’s wonderful. She’s just a really dedicated player in all the sport that she plays in. She’s a real leader and she’s just extremely talented and disciplined,’’ says college sports co-ordinator Julie Richards.
But the privilege to train with some of New Zealand’s top volleyball coaches has its price.
As well as fundraising to travel to Australia for the tests, Camilla has had to keep up with a demanding and costly schedule of travel within New Zealand for tournaments and drills with the squad, including trips to Te Aroha and Christchurch on weekends.
With her family and coaches, she has held a walkathon, sausage sizzle and school mufti day, and applied for grants and sponsorship.
Ms Richards says fundraising has been difficult because of the short window between selection and competition, which counts her out of most grants.
Funds raised have been swallowed up by travel during the squad’s training and by gear required, and supporters now face the battle to raise $3200 to send her to Adelaide.
‘‘She’s got natural talent and it would be a shame if she ... couldn’t go because of lack of funding,’’ Ms Richards says.
‘‘ She’s done everything, she tries really hard and she’s really committed.’’
At 1.85 metres (6 ft), Camilla is the second tallest in the squad, and the only Wellington player. She is a good blocker and hitter.
‘‘I want to represent the whole of the Wellington region.
‘‘I’m learning new techniques and what to improve on.
‘‘I want the power to smash the ball, and beat the Aussies.’’
Camilla is grateful to Housing New Zealand for a grant to buy trainers, and to Porirua City Fitness for a sponsored gym membership.
On the ball: Volleyball player Camilla Time Tautua, 15, would like to play for New Zealand at the Olympics one day, but her first step is to raise $3000 to take part in the New Zealand under17 test series against Australia in July.