Media release

6 June 2023

Inaugural Ahi Kā Aotearoa sets sail to Gold Coast to compete in Harvey Norman Women’s Championship

16 May 2023

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce that the following players have been selected to represent the inaugural Ahi Kā Aotearoa in the Harvey Norman Women’s Championship in the Gold Coast from 18 May – 21 May.

The Ahi Kā Aotearoa squad comprises players selected from last year’s inaugural National Girls’ Youth Tournament, who participated in the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme delivered in partnership with the NRL earlier in the year.

An experienced management team accompanies the players to the Gold Coast, with former Kiwi Fern players Ake Pereira and Kath Keremete on board as an Assistant Coach and Trainer. Head Trainer Shannon Maclachlan was involved in the most recent Kiwi Ferns’ World Cup campaign, and team manager Mel Tukapua has previously managed NZ16s and NZ18s teams.

NZRL congratulates the following players:

Amarnee SHEPHERD Waikato
Ana ALLEN Northland
Charlie-Kaige KAMUHEMU Auckland
Destinee MEXTED Northland
Genesis SMITH-HURIWAI Bay of Plenty
Henilietta LOKOTUI Auckland
Ilaisaane TAUFA Auckland
Kyla LYNCH-BROWN Canterbury
Maia CRUTCHER Northland
Manea WAAKA Canterbury
Marewa SAMSON Waikato
Monica SAMITI Auckland
Monika FAKAOSILEA Auckland
Nina FAAMAUSILI Auckland
Ronise MATINI Auckland
Sade SCHAUMKEL Auckland
Sina TUITUPOU Auckland
Summer VAN GELDER Auckland
Tamara RUAPORO Ngatuakana Wellington
Tanaia-Aroha MERTIN-HERNIMAN Northland

The Ahi Ka squad convenes for camp Tuesday, May 16th. For any media interviews or requests with players or coaching staff throughout the competition, please get in contact with Eddy Vaeau, on +64 21 104 6690 or

For more information or media requests, please contact:

Eddy Vaeau
New Zealand Rugby League
Mobile: +64 21 104 6690