Being young hasn't stopped Laci Iro (Ngāpuhi) from excelling in sports. The all-rounder has just been awarded a Variety Gold Heart scholarship supported by CMC Markets.
"I've played for the Cook islands 21 women, I've played for Counties 21's mix. I've represented my country New Zealand multiple times," Laci Iro says.
Her passion for playing sports derives from her parents and is a huge focus for the Iro family. At only 17 years of age, Iro's passion for sports spreads across three sports, netball, tag and rugby league.
"Wednesday would be netball training. Tag would be on Thursday, and league training would be on Sunday. All the games would be on Saturday," Iro says.
With a busy schedule like that, she says this scholarship, worth up to $5,000, and funded by CMC Markets has taken the financial pressure off her and her family for three years now.
"The scholarships have helped me a lot with the cost of my traveling and my gear."
Support from her whānau is what keeps her going. She credits parents as helping her with career.
"They encourage me everytime to go to training. To go hard, and to give 100% in every game and every training that I do."
Laci Iro is in her final year at school, and she is eager to carry on. Her goal is to one day wear the coveted black bib of the Silver Ferns, or the black jersey of the Kiwi Ferns.
"I hope to reach the highest level in all my sports and represent my countries - New Zealand and the Cook Islands."
She is in full preparation for the netball season, which starts in the next two weeks.