Wahine rugby player shines in US college competition

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Sativa Tarau Peehi-Kuru of Ngāti Whātua and Te Aupouri is making waves at the collegiate level in US rugby.

The Helensville-raised wahine, is studying therapeutic recreation at Lindenwold University in Missouri, and has won a national sevens title, three 15's titles, and received the MVP award at the CIC National Tournament.

“From 2018 to 2021 we have remained undefeated in all three national titles,” she says.

Sativa is coming up to her fourth year living in the US and, although she’s had a decorated college career, the path to success hasn’t always been easy. One of her biggest challenges, she says, is being away from home.

“I know a lot of the girls here get really homesick but home being a 15-hour flight away, I think that’s one of my most challenging things.”

I try to keep humble, by Face Timing my family all the time and keeping in touch with coaches as well.”  

Sativa is in her senior year at the university and says that a career in the sport is what she wants to pursue but has a solid backup plan if that doesn’t go as planned.

“I would like to pursue rugby opportunities in other countries, or pursue my career in therapeutic recreation.”