Former Silver Fern now a reo champion

By Ruth Smith

Pānia Papa has devoted most of her life to the revitalisation of te reo Māori and made huge sacrifices in an effort to ensure the language flourishes for future generations.  

Papa is a face well-known to Māori Television audiences.  She debuted for the Silver Ferns in 1990 and went on play two caps.

She's walking the talk for her for her language.

Papa says "she once lived and breathed netball but now she lives and breathes the language."

Silver Ferns player #93, Papa made her debut against the Jamaican Sunshine Girls in 1990.  Papa played under former Silver Ferns captain, Lyn Gunson who was head coach from 1989 - 1993. 

At the time another former coach, Waimarama Taumaunu, was captain. 

Papa says when she joined the team Taumaunu said to her, "Hey Papa, you've got the karanga and I've got the whaikōrero."

She also played alongside newly-appointed Silver Ferns head coach, Noeline Taurua.

"I know the Ferns will thrive under her leadership and the Māori worldview she has," says Papa. 

The language expert still keeps a keen eye out whenever the national side steps out on the court.