15 March 2024

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce that the following players have been selected for the Ahi Kā Aotearoa travelling squad, to compete in the Harvey Norman Women’s Championship in the Gold Coast from 21 – 24 March.

Following a successful inaugural campaign in 2023, the team returns to the Championship with a squad of under-21s wāhine selected to represent New Zealand Rugby League, off the back of the successful ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme.

In partnership with the NRL, the yearly RISE programme saw an expansion from 2023. Previously only delivered in Auckland, earlier this year the programme was delivered across multiple sessions in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

RISE aims to better prepare young players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRLW, targeting female players aged 17-21.

The Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship is an elite pathways tournament, allowing players from across Australia and New Zealand to showcase their skills in the representative arena.

The tournament consists of teams split into three grades across a four-day draw held in Pizzey Park, Gold Coast from March 21. Ahi Kā Aotearoa will play four games, facing the New South Wales City, Northern Territory, and Western Australia representative teams in their grade.

NZRL Head of Women’s Rugby League Luisa Avaiki says, “It is exciting to have a New Zealand team in the Championships again, what an amazing opportunity for our young wāhine to showcase their talent at an elite tournament.

“This is important for the development of female rugby league in New Zealand, and will hopefully lead to opportunities for girls in the NRLW and Kiwi Ferns. I look forward to seeing our female rugby league continue growing.”

Entry to the event is free across all four days and games will be live-streamed on the NRLW YouTube channel.


NZRL congratulates the following players:

Amarnee Shepherd Waikato
Christabelle Onesemo Auckland
Demielle Onesemo Auckland
Ella Bussey-Timo Canterbury
Henilietta Lokotui Auckland
Kaya Whaitiri-Dee Hawkes Bay
Kyla Lynch-Brown Canterbury
Madi Odering Canterbury
Manea-Faith Waaka Canterbury
Marewa Samson Waikato
Michaela Poimatagi-Matautia Auckland
Monica Samita Auckland
Monika Fakaosilea Auckland
Paris Pickering Auckland
Pearl Tuitama Auckland
Sade Schaumkel Auckland
Shaniah Lui Auckland
Sharnyze Pihema Auckland
Tamara Ruaporo-Ngatuakana Wellington
Tiana Thomson Auckland


Coach George Carmont Auckland
Assistant Coach Ake Pereira Wellington
Manager Mel Tukapua Canterbury
Head Trainer Shannon Maclachlan Wanaka
Assistant Trainer Jimmy Matson Tauranga
Physio Melissa Falani Gold Coast


Ahi Kā Aotearoa Schedule:

Thursday 21 March: Ahi Kā Aotearoa v New South Wales City – 12:30pm NZT

Friday 22 March: Ahi Kā Aotearoa v Northern Territory – 1:30pm NZT

Saturday 23 March: Ahi Kā Aotearoa v Western Australia – 1:30pm NZT

Sunday 24 March: Ahi Kā Aotearoa v TBC – TBC


Follow NZRL’s social channels to keep up with their journey throughout the tournament.