It was a phone call Paige McIvor will never forget.
The call revealed she was selected as captain for the first Otago rugby under-17 Maori wahine team.
“I was actually coming home from another rugby training when I got the call.
“It’s so special – it’s a really big honour,” she said.
Paige was not familiar with the other players as they were all based in Dunedin.
However, not knowing her team-mates did not phase her.
“I think it’s more exciting, you know, getting to see everyone’s new skills and have different people around you.
“I’m looking forward to continue learning and gelling with all the girls.”
The team would compete at the Te Waipounamu tournament in Invercargill next month.
The tournament involved senior, under-20 and under-17 competitions for both wahine and tane (women and men) teams.
Paige, who plays at hooker, was selected for the team on the back of national development camps.
She was invited to two Maori rugby camps in Christchurch earlier this year.
She then went on to be selected for the National Under-18 Maori Wahine and Tane Rugby Development Camp in Rotorua.
The camp, which was held in July, meant she brushed shoulders with the best of the best for her age group in the country.
“It was a really, really good camp.
“It was quite good on that final day, we have the wahine under 18, the tane under 18, tane under 21 and the Maori All Blacks all play games.
“It was pretty special to see it all happening,” Paige said.
The recent rise in Maori rugby teams across all platforms was important, she said.
“It’s quite good for us to have this movement of Maori rugby at the moment, it means a lot.
“To start it up and be involved in the first Otago one is pretty cool.”