Topic: Rugby League

Former league player to form NZ wheelchair team

By Rahia Timutimu
  • Auckland
  • Australia

Aiga Pouoa is restricted to her wheelchair but that won't stop her achieving her dreams.

After breaking her back in an accident, Poua has gone on to become FIT College's first wheelchair personal trainer and wants to start her own wheelchair league team in the future.

Aiga Pouoa survived a seven metre fall which ended her sporting dreams.

“The nerve damage was so bad that they told me I was very unlikely to ever walk again, and being someone so active that crushed me,” says the former league player.

However her dream to help others remains intact.   She's one of the country's only wheelchair-bound personal trainers thanks to Fit College NZ, where she also came away with the Student of the Year award.

“She always contributed, she was a key member of the small group we have.  Her determination shined through the whole time.  Now she determined to help the community, it's really coming through,” says Fit College tutor Rob Masters.

The former league player continues to want to help the community by achieving her next goal, which is to form a NZ women’s wheelchair rugby league team to compete at the world championships in three years’ time.

“When I watched these teams, they have a world cup and NZ doesn’t have a team in there but we could...” says Pouoa.

She has many players ready to form a team but says it's been an arduous task to get support.

“It’s disheartening to know we have to look overseas for them to help.  We’re here, we’re right here, why can’t we get it sorted here?  I have people in Australia wanting to help, everyone is ready to go, I’ve got all the equipment ready,” says Pouoa.

She will continue running her two classes, one at the Spinal Unit and one at Crossfit Waitakere.