Kiwi Netballer Maria Tutaia Speaks Out On The Sacrifices She Has Made To Chase Her Dreams
It's no secret that to be a professional athlete you have to make sacrifices.
But after speaking to Kiwi professional Netballer, Maria Tutaia, for just a few short minutes it's clear that for the entirety of her career she has battled with the push and pull of family verse chasing dreams.
We sat down with the 30-year-old Silver Fern for our latest episode of MTV Fit Sessions with adidas Australia, to chat about the hardships and rewards she's been through over the past decade.
“The reason I wanted to become a Netballer was because of my older sister," she muses when asked about her love affair with the sport. "She is seven years older than me and I used to sit on the sidelines - I was in immense awe of her."
Since her start as an 8-year-old ankle biter playing weekend comps the talented kid turned a hobby into a career after being selected onto the national team at just 18. The rest as they say, is history. The goal attack and goal shooter has enjoyed successes at the top level with Commonwealth Gold medals in 2006 and 2010, but she often laments the sacrifices she has made to achieve those epic milestones.
"I have to miss out on a lot. I've missed out on a few of my nieces birthdays, mum and dad’s birthdays, weddings. All of these moments you know you can’t relive," she says.
But she is acutely aware that these are the shortcomings of an athlete chasing their dreams.
"I am very privileged to be doing this because this is something that I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a kid."
And for all the weddings and birthdays she's forgone to make sure she is giving her best on the court, pales in comparison to the feeling she gets from making her family proud.
“Definitely making mum and dad proud," she proudly beams. "That feeling every time I get out on to the court and sing the national anthem and mum and dad are on my left. That feeling never dies."
And if the weight of family ties wasn't enough, Maria now faces another tough sacrifice - one that involves her fiance and professional Rugby Union player, Israel Folau. He currently plays for the Warratahs and resides in Sydney whilst his better half is back home in New Zealand. The predicament is as obvious and painful as you can imagine.
"It’s very, very difficult at the moment. I love Australia and he loves New Zealand but it’s not just us that we have to think of it’s our families as well," she said about the decision to move to Australia or stay in New Zealand to continue her career.
While she says they haven't come to a decision yet there is one thing that makes it all a little bit easier.
"We are both going through all those good and bad times so it’s nice to be with someone who knows exactly what you’re going through as an athlete."
Matters of the heart aside, Maria has been an incredible role model for young kids and aspiring athletes throughout her tenure. And no matter which step, pivot or leap she takes next in her life, one thing that will not waiver is her incredible legacy.