Black Fern back on home soil
Black Fern Leslie Elder was given a hero’s welcome when she returned home to Taumarunui on Saturday.
A powhiri at Morero Marae saw the community come together to give praise for a local woman admired for her achievements.
Having recently competed in the Women’s Rugby World Cup which saw NZ bring home the title Elder was humbled by the town’s response.
Elder was born and raised in Taumarunui and she loves coming back to her ‘‘favourite’’ place in the world. She hopes her story will inspire other young women to pursue their goals.
Elder said it was important to stay grounded as her career started to grow, remember her roots and her family helped keep her to that.
‘‘The higher you get up in your professional sporting career the more exposure you get so it’s important to acknowledge where you’re from.’’
Attending St Patrick’s Catholic School Elder got her first taste of rugby playing in the inter-school game with the boys.
Chucked in as the openside flank with no idea what to do, the young Elder learnt to tackle.
It wasn’t until fourth form she developed a passion for the sport.
At 16-years-old she decided to be a Black Fern.
‘‘I have a memory training at high school and four ladies turned up and ran a skills session and they arranged for Black Ferns to come and they brought this cup with them and it was in that moment I said to myself, I want to be a Black Fern.’’
Elder got the chance to hold up the cup she saw 14-years-ago when she was part of the winning team in August.
It took a while for Elder to be selected but she remained focused and trained hard until 2015 when she was selected the age of 27.
‘‘It had it’s challengers but it was all worth it and to have you support me through this journey was awesome.’’
At the age of 30 Elder has not decided to ‘‘hang up the boots’’ yet. Unsure of what the future holds Elder is looking forward to returning home to spend the holidays with family.
Te Black ferns were crowned world champions for a record fifth time in Ireland in August after beating reigning champions England 41-32 in the final.
It was their fifth title following on from 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
October 10: Police were called to an aggravated robbery at Manunui where a male presented a knife and money was handed over. With the aid of the public he was arrested a short distance away.
October 13: A domestic incident was attended. A driving complaint about dangerous overtaking was received but police could not locate the vehicle.
October 14: Police attended a disorderly gathering on Miro St. The group eventually dispersed. A speeding driver was issued with a driver’s licence suspension and a nose to tail crash was attended on Golf Rd. Later, a female was trespassed from a residential address. Police could not locate the source of a loud bang heard in the Roslyn St area.
October 15: A tanker driver reported a suspicious vehicle on a tanker track. The vehicle was not located and it appeared that nothing was taken.
Taumarunui Police can be contacted on (07) 8958119 or anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
Black Fern, Leslie-ann Te Atahira Ketu Elder is welcomed home by the community on Saturday.