Porirua pair re­ceive PM’s sports awards


Two Porirua sport­ing speed­sters were recog­nised for their skills and com­mu­nity work re­cently.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Pa­cific Youth Awards, hosted by Pa­cific Peo­ples Min­is­ter Pe­seta Sam Lotu-liga at Par­lia­ment on De­cem­ber 5, honoured young peo­ple achiev­ing in com­merce, the arts, sports, com­mu­nity and lead­er­ship.

Run­ner Mafu­taga Tau, 18 and rugby player Aye­sha Leti-I’iga, 17, were awarded two of three New Zealand In­sti­tute of Sport schol­ar­ships worth $18,000 each, for tu­ition and course costs.

Samoan-born Leti-I’iga said she was will­ing to work hard to bet­ter her fu­ture and in­spire those around her.

She was raised by her grand­par­ents af­ter her mother died when she was 10.

‘‘In­stead of go­ing down­hill, I have cho­sen to use this to push me even harder in school and es­pe­cially in sports,’’ she said.

‘‘Ev­ery rugby game I play I write my mother’s name on my wrist as it helps fuel me.

‘‘Ev­ery time I am run­ning, I know she is al­ways there, run­ning with me.’’

Leti-I’iga is a mem­ber of the Welling­ton Pride rugby team, the New Zealand Sev­ens pro­gramme and the wider Black Ferns squad.

She was cap­tain of Porirua Col­lege’s girls 1st XV this year.

Leti-I’iga also coached the un­der-15 Porirua Col­lege side and is a stu­dent leader at the Porirua Whanau Cen­tre’s hol­i­day pro­gramme.

Mafu­taga Tau, mean­while, has been a star of the McEvedy Shield ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tion.

The St Pa­trick’s Col­lege Town run­ner, 18, holds the record for un­der-14 sprint­ers at McEvedy of 11.48 sec­onds, was a cham­pion in re­lay (2012-16) and fin­ished in the top eight in the un­der-16 100m at nationals in 2013.

Mafu­taga has played for Town in rugby sev­ens and 1st and 2nd XV rugby.

He is in­volved in his church and its youth group and has worked at the Can­nons Creek Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre hol­i­day pro­gramme for four years, in a sup- port and role model ca­pac­ity for younger chil­dren.

‘‘I want to be a leader and an in­flu­ence for the younger gen­er­a­tion and show that it doesn’t take raw ta­lent and the best side­step, or fancy passes and big hits, but heart and a whole lot of hard work,’’ he said.

Mafu­taga Tau was awarded the NZIS Sports and Fit­ness Award.

Aye­sha Leti-I’iga was also awarded the NZIS Sports and Fit­ness Award.

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