Black Fern back on home soil

Ruapehu Press - - Your Local News - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

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.

FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Black Fern, Les­lie-ann Te Atahira Ketu El­der is wel­comed home by the com­mu­nity on Satur­day.

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