A young Te Arawa and Taranaki descendant is chasing her basketball dreams to become the next NZ Tall Fern. 18-year old Matangiroa Flavell recently received a full-ride scholarship to play basketball in the states. Much to the reluctance of her dad, Te Ururoa Flavell, she says she's looking forward to the adventure.
Matangiroa is following a much different career path to her father's.
“Nah I already told him I don't like politics, he brang me down at the start of the year to settle me in for the next five years at Otago University and kind of realised that I'm already off after three months, so he was excited but of course being the baby of the family he was quite sad,” says Matangiroa Flavell.
Just recently, Matangiroa received a two-year full scholarship to play basketball and study Health Science at Midland College in Texas, the former college of elite American basketballers Spud Webb, Ricky Grace and Nathan Jawai.
“I was pretty shocked, to be honest. It was kind of like a long process, but I kinda just realised until I got it. After a few hours after it settled in I was extremely excited.”
It's an opportunity of a lifetime. Matangiroa attributes her recent success to whānau and brother-in-law coach who helped get her there.
“Ever since he came into this family he's been supporting me and mentoring me and coaching me through basketball. And he's been a real big aspect in how I accomplish this.”
Basketball-crazy since she was a youngster, the NZ Māori Basketball champ is definitely on the right track to fulfilling her long-term goal of playing for the Tall Ferns.
“Definitely if I ever achieve something big in America then hopefully I can come back and play for the tall ferns, but what kinda want to do is represent Māori in the sport because a lot of Māori are coming through now, and also to make my family proud and represent my family and my school and my iwi, hapu and definitely come back and try for the tall ferns, that would be huge.”