Ko Ngati Raukawa Ki te Tonga,
Ko Ngati Kahu Ki Whangaroa,
Ko Ngati Kuia oku Iwi.
Ko Maia Toku ingoa.
Maia is the Manager of Welcoming Sport for Welcoming Australia.
Welcoming Sport uses sport and physical activity as a vehicle for social inclusion, learning, understanding and building communities.
For the past 3 years Maia has coordinated this program to assist young people and families from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds to access sport and physical activity as a way of connecting with their new communities. In this time, the program has achieved 4631 engagements with community, 1210 community football participants and has assisted 328 individuals to access organised sport.
The next phase of this work is Welcoming Clubs, a new initiative supporting sports clubs and codes to be proactive and successful in their efforts to increase inclusion and diversity.
Maia is a former NZ KiwiFern and NZ Rugby League Player of the Year and has played Rugby Union semi professionally in Canada, England and Spain.
She has been involved in Sport for Social Development programs in Kenya, Uganda and Laos.
A HPE Teacher by trade, Maia is also a Level 2 World Rugby Coach and has previously coached at State level. She currently coaches Rugby 7s with the University of Queensland, Tribe 7s and Mako 7s.
Maia has also spent time in Malaysia and Laos with the Laos Men’s and Women’s National 7s teams.
Maia is passionate about the power of sport in breaking down barriers and connecting communities through a shared passion.
‘I love sport, it has been a defining characteristic of my life. I have an extremely romantic view of the role sport can play because I have experienced it and seen it play out so successfully in so many different situations. Right now it is a huge opportunity for so much positive change and we, as a society have not quite fully harnessed its potential’.