Bay of Plenty made a significant contribution to the Youth Olympic Womens Sevens gold medal in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

Three of the 12 woman squad – Tynealle Fitzgerald, Kiani Tahere and winning try scorer Mahina Paul - are all part of the Bay of Plenty rugby union's academy programme.

One of the parents, James Porter, has a double reason to feel proud. Not only is he the father of Kiani Tahere, or Kiki as she's known, he's also the manager of the academy which now has 12 young women involved.

"We're pretty excited but we're pretty grounded," he said after the final in which New Zealand, inevitably tagged the "Baby Ferns", beat France 15-12 in the final.


"My wife and I were up watching so we're a bit tired today."

It's the first time New Zealand has had a Sevens team at the Youth Olympics and this gold medal puts a further stamp on this country's standing in the game.

This year the Black Ferns Sevens have won the Commonwealth Games gold medal and the World Cup. They start the 2018-19 World Series campaign in Colorado this weekend.

The win in Argentina suggests the next generation could be just as successful as the current group of stars.

The Tahere-Porter family came back to the Bay just over a year ago, but Kiki has been a rugby player since she was four.

"She played with boys until the under 13 grade in Otaki when I was working with Wellington Rugby," her father said.

"But she was able to play in the Kapiti College first IV in Year 8, before she even went to the school, then she was in the Wellington under 18 team as a 13-year-old."

Now a student at Te Wharekura o Mauao and fluent in te reo, the world of rugby is opening up for young women like Kiki.


"But they work really hard at it," says her father.

"They're training at 5.30am five days a week and spend a lot of time in rugby."

With Black Ferns World Cup winner Les Elder now the women's rugby development manager at the Bay of Plenty Union, Porter sees real opportunities on the horizon.

"The Black Ferns Sevens are contracted through to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 but after that there's every chance there'll be some contracts available, and we want to put some of these girls in a position to get those contracts then."

The Youth Olympics finish later this week and the next rugby commitment for the three Bay of Plenty gold medallists may well be at the New Zealand National Sevens at the Tauranga Domain on December 15 and 16.

James Porter says there's no guarantee they'll be in the Bay of Plenty team "but they should get there if they work hard enough".