World-class Black Fern captain takes out NZ Police Association Sportsperson of the Year

NZPA | Mon July 3rd, 2017

Fiaoo Black Ferns photo

Detective Constable Fiao’o Fa’amausili, captain of the world-class Black Ferns and regarded as one of the world’s leading hookers in women’s rugby, is the NZ Police Association Sportsperson of the Year for 2016.

The Black Fern first received the award in 2011 off the back of a stellar performance in the front row at the 2011 World Cup. This Monday, as captain of the Black Ferns, Fiao'o will accept the 2016 award from Association President Chris Cahill.

“This award is in recognition of another year of great achievements in both national and international rugby.” Mr Cahill said.

Highlights of her 2016 year include:

  • Black Ferns – Captain
  • Auckland Storm – Captain
  • Auckland Storm – Forward of the Year
  • Farah Palmer Cup (WPC) – Top Try Scorer
  • Auckland Samoa Women’s Player of the Year
  • Nominee for NZ Women’s Player of the Year
  • Nominee for World Rugby Player of the Year

“Fiao’o’s work ethic and willingness to take on a challenge has earned her respect from her colleagues, fellow athletes, and the wider community. Her achievements reflect positively on Police too,” Mr Cahill said.

“The Police family feels proud when one of our own achieves such success in New Zealand and on the international stage."

With 44 games, Fiao’o is third on the Black Ferns’ list of all-time appearances. Her personal achievements include participating in five World Cups, including the tournament in Ireland next month.

Her willingness to take on challenges is an attribute that has always helped Fiao’o achieve her goals. In 2010 she graduated as a constable from Police College at the same time as she was training for that year’s World Cup in London. The Black Ferns won, two years later Fiao’o was captain and, six years on she was a Police detective.

Fiao’o’s taste for rugby began in college. She was a keen netball player at Aorere College, but after competing in a “one-off” rugby game against Otahuhu College, she “was hooked".

Fiao’o gave up selection for an U19 netball squad in favour for a place in the Auckland Storm team. She says her dad was the deciding factor– she thought he would prefer being on the sideline of a rugby game.

Hard training and working as a postie Monday to Saturday for extra fitness, paid off when she made her test debut for New Zealand at the 2002 World Cup in Barcelona.

After the World Cup in Canada in 2006 Fiao’o’s reputation as a first-class hooker was growing and she took a contract to play in Newcastle in the 2007-2008 English Rugby season.

She then returned home to New Zealand for her next challenge – joining NZ Police. After her call-up, Fiao’o began night classes to familiarise herself with studying and sitting exams and set herself the challenge of learning to swim properly.

“Train hard or go home” is her motto and the physicality and mental preparation is what she loves about rugby.

“You’ve got to go in hard and tough it out, much like the situations we come up against in policing,” Fiao’o said.

In her spare time Fiao’o has been working with Cure Kids NZ and is involved in grassroots school rugby, helping to grow the game and promote fair play. One of her wider legacies as a Black Fern is seeing the rise in the number of women playing the game.

“It’s awesome to see and for them to know that rugby is not just a game for the boys.”

 

NZ Police Sportsperson of Year award background: From 2002, the NZ Police Association has sponsored the Police Sportsperson of the Year Award, acknowledging the outstanding national sporting excellence achieved by members of Police. For over 40 years, this award has recognised members of Police who have excelled at their sport at a national level. It is organised by Police Sport.

Previous nominees and recipients include: Rachel Clarke, Champion Surf Skier; Selica Winiata, Black Fern; Melissa Mae Ruru, NZ Volleyballer; Fiao'o Fa'amausili, world champion Black Fern; Sian Law, Commonwealth Games Wrestler; Jeff McGrath, Ironman/Triathlete; Grainne Scott, MVP NZ Lacrosse Team & Captain Canterbury Women’s Ice Hockey Team; Michelle Nunn, Captain of the NZ Women’s Wheel Chair Basketball Team - the Wheel Ferns; Cowboy Action Shooting World Champion Tracey Ball; NZ Black Cap cricketer Shane Bond; Atlantic Rowers Steve Westlake and Matt Goodman; Silver Fern Jenny-May Coffin; All Blacks Murray Pierce; John Gallagher and Blair Larsen; Kiwi rugby league star Sam Stewart; All White Roger Gray; Hockey internationals Shane Collins, Scott Anderson and Karen Smith; cricketer Sarah Illingworth; lawn bowler Phil Skoglund; triathlete Steve Farrell; athlete Andrew Collin; and martial artist Karen Vaughan.

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