Nā Te Raunatanga Williams-Edwards | Te Ia Ka Oho.
Peyton Nelson, a year 12 student at Te Paepae o Aotea, will represent Aotearoa at the prestigious Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) competition in July in the United States.
Nelson will be one of more than 1000 rangatahi competing in about 400 basketball games over five days in Arizona, which will put her skill set to the test.
“I’m really excited, being able to travel with new people overseas. This is super exciting and I can’t wait,” Nelson says.
“I’ve really had a lot of different role models to look up to and have had a lot of opportunities to be able to get tips from them,” she says.
The 15-year-old Ngāti Maniapoto descendant attributes her basketball and overall success to her whānau, who have helped her gain more self-confidence and improve in the sport she loves.
“I’ve had a lot of great supporters through my basketball, but I owe it all to my mum and nana, without them I have no clue what I would be doing now," Nelson says.
"Everything they do for me, going out of their way to pay for my trips, shoes, even just taking me to trainings,” she says.
“If I was to say something to my younger self or other young wāhine it would be to just not worry about what other people have to say and to keep your confidence up. I think confidence for me is a really big factor, it determines how I play.”
Until they travel to the United States in four months to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Nelson, her teammates, and coaches will continue their preparation.