Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Volleyball star “hops” sport codes and lands Black Ferns contract for 2024

Maama Vaipulu. Photo: Tagata Pasifika.
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

Five players receive their first contracts with the Black Ferns including volleyball star Maama Vaipulu.

Black Ferns have revealed their 2024 squad with an addition of five newly contracted players.

Part of the new five is 21 year old volleyball star Maama Vaipulu. 

Maama who was part of this years Super Rugby Aupiki champs side the Blues, only began her career in rugby in 2021, before making an appearance a year later in the Farah Palmer Cup for the Auckland Storm.

Having paved out a successful career in volleyball through the school grades, she made the switch to rugby, impressing selectors and coaches with her “hops” and aerial skills.

Maama Vaipulu with some fresh faces for Black Ferns squad 2024. Photo: IG – @blackferns

Maama who is of Tongan and Māori descent is still coming to terms with her inclusion in the squad.

“It’s very new to me to be contracted and seen by the Black Ferns” Maama said upon reflecting on her new contract.

“I was actually going through a juggling phase with the two sports”.

“I was playing volleyball at first and I was very serious about that, but then I wanted to take a turn with rugby and see how that went, and now I am really invested in it”

Maama Vaipulu contracted to the Black Ferns. Photo: IG – @blackferns

The soft spoken sports star does not say much and keeps it humble when mentioning her achievements.

It’s quite the opposite however with her dad who she credits “as her number one fan.”

“My parents have been supportive of my career, especially my dad”

“If anyone knows my dad, he always comes to the trainings, he still does but I tell him to stay home because he makes me nervous” she laughed.

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting is excited with his newly contracted group and is adamant that they will perform well when given the opportunity to don the black jersey.

“It is exciting to be able to see the growth we have building in our game at the moment”

“While it makes for a tough selection, it gives us an opportunity to expose more talent to the international stage in specific areas we are looking at moving into the future and towards Rugby World Cup 2025” “

“These new players have really stood out consistently in their own way across Sky Super Rugby Aupiki that has been apparent in the way they hold themselves on and off the field”

With the Pacific Four Series coming up in May, Maama is hoping to not only develop more with her rugby, but to give her full commitment to the team.

And from her experience in switching codes, she hopes she can inspire other young athletes.

“I am hoping that I can put myself out there more and be confident and just to be in uncomfortable spaces so I can learn and grow”

“There are opportunities everywhere. If you have one opportunity from where you are not expecting it, just take it. You’ll never know where you will go in the future”.

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