New World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee pays tribute to her mother

By Te Ao Toa
Huriana Manuel-Carpenter, with her mother and former Black Fern Liza Mihinui.  Photo / File

Huriana Manuel-Carpenter has expressed her gratitude to her mother, former Black Fern Liza Mihinui, as she reflects on her recent induction into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

"There's a whole lot of New Zealand players I've looked up to, my mum being number one," Manuel-Carpenter told Te Ao Toa. "She introduced the game of rugby to myself."

"Watching her from the sidelines, I always admired her from the side. She's been a great role model for me."

Her whānau have been her greatest supporters, she said. "My family has come along for the ride, their support I could not have done it without."

A dual international, the former Black Ferns captain was one of the forerunners in the world of Women's Rugby and Sevens.

"It's a huge honour to be inducted alongside such legends of the game around the world. It's a special feeling and also a privilege."

The recognition represents "a whole lot of things", she said. "It represents whānau, my family, It represents my teams that I've played alongside, the players I've played alongside, the management, to the supporters." 

She said the memories created with those she played alongside, "I will hold for the rest of my life."

Manuel-Carpenter is positive about how much women's rugby has developed.

"Women's (rugby) are getting paid, getting more recognition, and hopefully more game time. There's more exposure as well," she said.

"Rugby is in schools, and it's just awesome to see the development of the whole game. That's down to World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby for the work and effort that they're doing."