Northland Rugby League’s very own wahine toa Chantez Connor selflessly gives her time to the game expecting absolutely nothing in return.
Connor reluctantly accepted the Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year award at this year’s Annual NZRL Awards and her touching acceptance speech encapsulated the passion that is so evident in the rugby league community.
Her sheer dedication towards servicing the game of rugby league in Northland stems from when Connor first became involved in rugby league when she was five-years-old. She is now a qualified coach and referee, club administrator and team manager who is involved in all aspects of the game from juniors through to premiers.
In recent years she has been instrumental in growing participation and interest in the women’s game. In 2016, Chantez started a women’s team and grew interest to organise a match in the far north and fundraised for an Auckland team to play in Whangarei. 2017, for this passionate Northlander, started with a revamp of the Rugby League Northland Premiership linking history, seeking sponsorshio and producing a video promotion for an advertising campaign.
However, her work didn’t stop there. After a 25 year absence, she led the charge to include a Northland team in the NZRL National Women’s Tournament. As a result of this, there has been a surge in registrations from teenage girls no wanting to play rugby league. This success looks to be emulated through the formation of a school girls’ competition in the region.
With these commitments, plus her own job and family to look after, Rugby League Northland appreciate the extra hours she puts in to making sure rugby league thrives in the region.
New Zealand Rugby League would like to thank Chantez for her ongoing voluntary commitment and passion towards the game that is having such a positive impact in Northland.