Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Former Black Fern appeals for stolen medal return

Rochelle Martin
Rochelle Martin

Former Black Fern Rochelle Martin has pleaded for the return of precious rugby mementos stolen from her Auckland home.

The 41-year-old firefighter said on Facebook that her house in Beach Haven on the North Shore was broken into and "turned upside down" between Thursday and Saturday night.

"Among many of the most personal and cherished items taken was my 2006 winners World Cup medal, all but two of my playing jerseys from three World Cups along with my 10 test manaia, 20 test pounamu and the 30 test engraved fountain pen."

Martin urged people to keep an eye out for any of the items.

Her message has been shared on social media, with sports broadcaster Scotty Stevenson, All Black Adam Thomson and soul singer Hollie Smith among those passing on her message.

Martin, a former vice captain of the Black Ferns, had a long international rugby career that started in 1994.

She represented New Zealand in 32 tests and was part of the Black Ferns when they won gold at the women's rugby World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

The team also won the Churchill Cup title in Canada in 2004 and the Canada Cup in 1996 and 2005.

Raised in Hawkes Bay, Martin now lives in Auckland where she's been a firefighter since 2001.

A profile on the Fire Service website said Martin became a firefighter after she suffered a rugby injury and started thinking ``long and hard'' about her future career options.

Her coach, a firefighter, encouraged her to apply.

"Joining up was certainly one of the best decisions I've made. Like rugby, I'm working in a team environment where everyone assists each other for the right result. Times have changed and, as a woman, I have never experienced any barriers to my ability to do the job."

- APNZ

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