Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Matatū team excited for new international recruit

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Photo: FrontRow Group
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

The Super Rugby Aupiki competition for 2023 officially launched today at the Eden Rugby Club headquarters. 

After a short tournament and many disruptions last year due to covid, players will finally get the chance for a more stable competition this year. Members of the media interacted with players from each team through different activities, while also being informed of this year’s schedule. 

One of this year’s big news coming out of the Aupiki tournament is the signing of Wallaroos superstar Sera Naiqama. 

Naiqama, who was a major standout for the Wallaroos 2022 World Cup campaign, will be joining the Matatu team this year. Aside from her blockbusting plays on the field, Naiqama is also a TV host and rugby commentator. 

Photo: NZ Rugby

Her inclusion in Matatū’s squad this year is a major boost for the team going into this season.

“I think at the moment we are the underdogs,” Matatū player Martha Lolohea said.

We’ve been gelling together quite nicely, and we have been working hard out on our connections off the field and with that it will translate onto the field.”

Lolohea is no stranger to the rugby scene in Christchurch and New Zealand. She hopes that with the addition of an international icon like Naiqama in the team, the younger players will bounce off her experience and wisdom.

Photo: Neueli Mauafu

“We’ve really found the balance within the team with the youth and veterans and just the mix of personalities in the team, it gives us a good balance,” Lolohea added.

Naiqama’s first cap for Wallaroos came in 2021, and she was also part of the Waratahs team in the Australian Women’s Super Rugby comp. Earlier this year, she spoke to media in her homeland Fiji regarding her newly signed contract with Matatū.

“Matatū initially approached me during my World Cup campaign. They expressed their interest in me to come and play for the 2023 season”.

After the World Cup concluded we continued the discussion and just before the New Year, I signed my contract”.

Super Rugby Aupiki kicks off on February 25th.

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