Basketball: Hawks captain's high five on track

By Anendra Singh

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TEAM WINITANA: Hawks captain Paora Winitana and wife Tia with their five sons Niwhai, 8 (left), Mikaere, 2, Mana, 5, baby Te Aumiti (2 months old) and Paora Jnr, 11. PHOTO/Glenn Taylor
TEAM WINITANA: Hawks captain Paora Winitana and wife Tia with their five sons Niwhai, 8 (left), Mikaere, 2, Mana, 5, baby Te Aumiti (2 months old) and Paora Jnr, 11. PHOTO/Glenn Taylor

It's just a matter of time before they take to the basketball court for what could be a world first.

Everything being equal, Team Winitana is on course in Hawke's Bay to perhaps enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

IMS Payroll Hawks captain Paora Winitana will assume the mantle of coach and no one can match wife Tia as manager when their five boys will be high-fiving their way through age-group teams.

"I feel sorry for whoever will be the coach," Paora says but laughs when put to him that he's aptly suited for the role.

Paora Jnr, 11, Niwhai, 8, and Mana, 5, all attend the Kura Kaupapa Te Whare Tapere o Takitimu school in Hastings.

Then there's 2-year-old Mikaere and the latest edition, 2-month-old Te Aumiti.

"I start for the Hawks but I'm on the bench at home," says 37-year-old Paora Snr who is enjoying the ascendancy of the Hawks in the Bartercard National Basketball League (NBL).

The three older boys love playing basketball and their parents enjoy watching them.

However, they don't impose dad's sport and career on the boys.

"They play rugby for Tamatea rugby juniors' club and they play softball and hockey but they have chosen basketball already", says Paora, who with ex-Hawk Paul Henare runs an academy in the Bay.

The success of the New Zealand Breakers, Tall Blacks and Hawks has obviously rubbed off on the boys.

Tia's role, meanwhile, eclipses anything Paora does as father.

"She's the manager, general manager, agent - she's everything."

The couple planned to stop at three children but they wanted a daughter.

Oops, enter Mikaere. Then Te Aumiti.

"Little Te Aumiti [my nickname for him is Chief] wasn't planned so he just turned up.

"He's a gift from God and what a blessing he's been," Paora says, revealing that when Tia was pregnant with Te Aumiti they didn't want to find out the gender.

"I don't know how to make girls, mate," says Paora, "and everyone keeps telling me it's my fault.

"But we're really happy and content with five boys."

So are the Winitana couple still in pursuit of a baby girl?

"You can never say never but five is good for us," says the Mormon bishop, putting it all down to God's work.

How the Winitanas came to finding a name for their latest bundle of joy is in itself an intriguing story.

Tia's grandmother, Terewai, who died last year, was from D'urville Island, in the Marlborough Sounds.

"Tia's the oldest granddaughter so she wanted to carry on with the ties to her grandmother."

Te Aumiti's name is a reference to a passage of water from Terewai's lineage.

"Mine, which is Waimarama, is obviously my family's side," Paora explains, seeing the irony of facing the Fico Finance Nelson Giants in Napier tonight.

Te Aumiti's middle name, Moroni, is derived from the "chief captain and righteous leader" from the Book of Mormon.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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