"Just being there" - Manusina Captain Sui

For Manusina Captain Masuisuimatamaalii Pauaraisa, motherhood is about being there for her daughters.

“Growing up not knowing my parents, being a mum now I just wanna be there for my girls.

“I wanna be that person that my girls are able to talk to."

She said most Samoan girls can't talk to their parents because they are too scared.

“I don’t wanna be that Samoan parent that will be really strict on my girls, because I know what it’s like and it just leads up to other stuff."

"Whatever [they are] going to go through I really want [them] to be able to open up to me and be able to talk to me about anything."

Pauaraisa, 31, of Foailalo wasn't raised by her biological mother; her grandparents raised her in Samoa before moving the family to New Zealand when she was still a child.

“My grandma is pretty much my mum to be honest."

Pauaraisa is spending Mother's Day in Samoa, and said it's hard being away from her girls Pine (11) and Paia (10) in Christchurch.

“Last year I was here at the same time."

Pauaraisa counts herself lucky to have Ieremia as her husband, and father to the girls.

“He’s like a mum when I’m away," she laughed.

“I’ve always said I’m pretty blessed with my husband, because when you’re a Samoan wife, you don’t always get a man that will let their wife do this.

“And he really supports the women’s side of things."

An international in both rugby league and union, Pauaraisa has been in Samoa this week delivering clinics in both sports.

“It’s been really full on but I like it."

She has long been a crusader for women and girls in rugby in Samoa.

“Not only that, it’s more off the field stuff that I always bring in."

Pauaraisa said those lessons apply to any field, whatever dreams the girls may have.

"You just have to believe to achieve something."

She said her daughters get sick of her travelling with rugby sometimes, but are beginning to see it as a positive.

“'I wanna travel like my mum, I wanna be like my mum'."

Pine played her first game of rugby league for mum's club the Linwood Keas recently.

“She’s always played netball.

“But one day she said mum can you take me to league training."

Pauraisa said Pine loved it, and thinks she wanted to play having seen her and Paia both playing.

“We’ve made a deal that we’re all going to play together.

“So I kinda have to be fit and stay like this for the next 6, 7 years," Pauaraisa laughed.

“There are some athletes who are like 40 something and they’re still going.

“If they can, then obviously we can as well, you just have to believe.

“I think it’s going to be really cool."

Pauaraisa said she always plays for her girls.

“They are like my energy, every game I go to at home i’ll take them, even training.

“It makes me happy when they’re with me."

She said the team will then use Pine and Paia as teagirls, ballgirls, watergirls, anything.

“They’re involved with the game and they love it."

Pauaraisa has a busy year ahead, with a test Tri-Series against Fiji and Hong Kong with the Manusina 15s at the end of this month first on the horizon.

Then she will represent the Fetu Samoa for the first time in international rugby league, coming up against her old team the Kiwi Ferns on June 22nd.

After that is the Pacific Games here in July, which has both rugby union 7s and rugby league 9s competitions Pauaraisa wants to play in.

Most of the gaps between these competitions are filled with New Zealand Warriors camps for the second ever N.R.L.W. season, with Pauaraisa currently in the wider training squad.

“It’s just full on, and it makes the year go fast," she said.

The N.R.L.W. season is in September, then Pauaraisa will end the year representing the Manusina in the Oceania 7s and 15s Championships.

“And then there’s a job (full-time clinical administrator with the Canterbury District Health Board), and then there’s kids," she laughed.

But you get the feeling Pauaraisa, Ieremia and their girls wouldn't have it any other way.

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