Two Māori women are playing in the Legends Football League Gridiron competition in America. They were selected from a group of 200 women.
Quincy and Kiana are the new faces in the Los Angeles Temptations. Quincy Marama Hewitt is from Kaitaia and plays left tight end, and Kiana Takairangi from Wairarapa and the Cook Island plays wide receiver.
Marama moved to Sydney in 2009 to play in the inaugural LFL competition in Australia. In January this year, she made the decision to move to America.
“The LFL came to Australia in 2011 so both of us played touch football and rugby so we played whole variations of sports and when the AFL came out we both trialled with about 200 girls and we both got though the top 40,” says Marama.
Both girls are in LA chasing the dream of playing on a national stage with the help of a mentor, Hall of Fame player and three-time league championship winner, Monique Gaxiola.
“She's like our mum, our dad, our brother, our sister. She is everything, being with her all the time is really motivating,” says Takairangi.
“I am really grateful because she looks after us she's like our māmā,” says Marama.
Gridiron is American football and the LFL is a seven-a-side female version of the men's NFL. It was originally the Lingerie Football League.
Marama says, “People get like, oh the uniform but I really feel good in it. I fell really…to me it looks good, and when you look good you feel good and you play good.”
Hewitt and Takairangi are reaping the rewards, mixing it with top players in the world. The season starts this weekend.