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.