Topic: Rugby

Tiana Raftstrand-Smith hopes to follow in her Aunty Portia Woodman's footsteps

By Moana Makapelu Lee

13-year-old Tiana Raftstrand-Smith hopes to follow in her Aunty Portia Woodman's footsteps. Just recently, the rising rugby star was selected for the Cavaliers' Rugby Sevens tour in the USA.

Tiana Raftstrand - Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, says, "Tino pai, really good, yeah. It's my first time going overseas away from my whanau and stuff." 

After moving to Australia with her whānau to pursue her rugby dreams, the teen hasn't looked back. She's been selected for the U16 Rugby Sevens tour in the USA with her Cavaliers club.

Tiana Raftstrand says, "We'll be going to San Diego and San Francisco."

Playing league since the age of five, Tiana decided to have a go at rugby two years ago during her time at Mt Roskill Grammar. 

Tiana Raftstrand says, "There was no league so I had to switch to rugby to keep my tackling skills up and my ball skills."

Now she has her sights set on becoming a Black Fern. 

"To play with my Aunty Portia in the next Olympics. She's a good role model, I watch her play her games. She's really fast," says Tiana Raftstrand. 

But before she heads off to the USA, Tiana will have to tackle the $7000 costs to get there. Tiana has started a GoFundMe page raising just over $800 so far. 

Tiana Raftstrand says, "I would like to thanks my family, my supporters and my uncle Joe for sponsoring me and getting me boots." 

Like her Olympian Aunty Portia, Tiana says chasing gold is her motivation so she too can be the inspiration.