“This is a game for everyone, not just men.”
26-year-old Ruahei Demant (Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa) has been a Black Fern since 2018.
The Black Ferns are New Zealand women's national rugby union team debuted in 1991, and recently played their 100th test, which Ruahei was a part of.
She says she initially thought of the 100th test as “just another game”, until captain Les Elder reminded them of the challenges women have gone through to be able to play.
“Previous Black Ferns have talked to us about having to save up to pay for their own flights overseas to go to World Cup tournaments, and you know having to sacrifice time away from
whānau or leaving employment to pursue this as a dream, and now we get to reap those rewards and really bask in the glory of the mana and the legacy that they've left.”
She says there's a long way to go for equality in men's and women's sport, “but I do think that there are positive steps being taken.”
This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho.
Stay tuned for a new episode every week.