Stacey Waaka wins Junior Māori Sportswoman of the Year award

By Tepara Koti

20-year-old Stacey Waaka (Ngāi Tūhoe) has won the Junior Māori Sportswoman of the Year award at this year's Māori Sports Awards held at Tūrangawaewae Marae.

This is the first time Waaka has been nominated for the prestigious award alongside fellow nominees, Maia Wilson (Netball), Gayle Broughton (Rugby Sevens), Paige Satchell (Football) and Ivana Rowland (Netball).

It's been a stellar year for the Ngāi Tūhoe descendant, who was named in the New Zealand Black Ferns squad.  Not only did she have the privilege of wearing the black jersey for the very first time, but she did so alongside her brother Beaudein who debuted for the All Blacks Sevens.


Waaka only stepped out on to the rugby field three years ago playing Sevens, and last year she had her first taste at 15-a-side rugby when she joined the Waikato Women's Provincial Championship team. 

More recently, she got the call to say she had made the New Zealand Sevens Development Squad and played her first game for them last month at the 2015 UON Central Coast Sevens in Australia.


Waaka just missed out on the NZ Sevens Womens team heading to the Dubai to play the opening match of the tournament next week, due to a shoulder injury.

She was however clearly surprised at tonight's win and graciously accepted her award before those in attendance.