Two members of the Hawken family – Chrysanthe, 17, and Tama, 19 – will represent New Zealand in touch rugby at the Youth Trans-Tasman Series in Newcastle, Australia, next month.
The Hawkens, of Ahuroa, say it is part of their game plan to get noticed by Touch New Zealand in the hope of trialling for the 2021 Youth Touch World Cup.
Chrysanthe played in the Premier Touch League (PTL) for the Northern Strikers women’s team this season, while Tama played for the Auckland Metro men’s team.
Chrysanthe also played for North Harbour in the U18s team in the Bunnings National Touch Championship, while Tama played for Auckland, in the team that won the open mixed grade.
Tama also plays for an Auckland based team, called PearlJam, in the Whakatane Touch tournament, which is the largest annual touch competition in the country, attracting 76 teams.
He is driving two-and-a-half hours every second day from Tapora to Auckland to attend trainings.
On top of it all, this Chrysanthe plays for Mahurangi College’s senior mixed touch team, and this year Tama returned to the school as the coach.
“I wanted to give back because I had been playing for the team since Year 8 and head coach Karl Middleton has done a lot for me,” Tama said.
Tama says he and Chrysanthe have always been busy with sport, including touch, rugby and netball.
“Training was our social time,” he says. “Our parents never left a stone unturned in finding opportunities for us to play touch because they knew we were good at it.”
Their father John Hawken was skilled at polo cross, a fusion of polo and lacrosse played on horseback, but playing at a national representative level continually escaped him.
Chrysanthe and Tama believe that is why he is determined to make sure they make it to the national level.
“As kids, if we weren’t doing sport we were out running. I would try to go for a run before Dad told us to, but when I got back I would find Chrysanthe hiding behind a hill,” Tama says
“She would sprint the last 200 metres and look puffed liked she had done the full run.”
Last month, John had the pleasure of watching Tama play for the Auckland Metro provincial team, a game that was screened on Sky Sport Next.
“Then my best mate Kade Banks, also from Mahurangi College, was on the following week for the Sevens, which I thought was cool,” Tama says.
Both Tama and Chrysanthe say they will probably play touch rugby for the rest of their lives.
“Touch is great because you make so many mates, training for four to five months and getting to know each other,” Chrysanthe says.