06 October, 2022
Corporal Hutana, who went to Feilding High School, said she was honoured to co-captain the team alongside Sub-Lieutenant Kate Williams.
“I am super proud. There are so many great leaders in this group, it makes our job easy.”
Both players have co-captained teams before, but say this opportunity is different.
Defence teams from Australia, Fiji, France, Tonga, the United Kingdom and a combined Papua New Guinea/Vanuatu side will represent their countries and militaries at the tournament in Auckland, which starts on Friday when New Zealand plays France.
“Representing any team is special, but it’s extra special knowing that this is the first-ever International Defence Rugby Competition, and to do it with a bunch of people that are in the same Defence Force is even more special,” Corporal Hutana said.
Sub-Lieutenant Williams believed that the women’s strong work ethic was reflected on the field.
“All these girls are among the best in their service and want to be here to represent New Zealand. They are a super-driven bunch of women who are constantly striving to do their best.
“In our jobs we aim to be the best, and I think this translates into our sports. We want to be the best,” she said.
The co-captains admitted they were nervous for their first game of the international competition, but believe the nerves will disappear once they perform the NZDF haka.
“The haka is a key moment, there is an amazing feeling of connectedness and unity with the team,” Sub-Lieutenant Williams said.
“It feels really powerful.”
Corporal Hutana said she felt a sense of pride to be amongst the team doing the haka.
“Especially because it’s unique to us. To be hosting the competition and performing the haka at home is such a special feeling.”
The rugby leaders are ecstatic that the NZDF is hosting such an event and that they can combine their sporting passions with their professional life.
“There is a really high level of rugby in the team. It’s cool that the Defence Force lets us to develop as sportspeople, and to come together and show it off internationally,” Sub-Lieutenant Williams said
“This feels like a pinnacle for our women in rugby. We’ve always talked about something like this, so it’s cool that it is finally happening.”