Northland has another Black Fern to add to the list after former Horahora player Harono Te Iringa was selected in the squad announcement on May 14.
Te Iringa, 23, was one of seven new caps in the 35-person squad and joined a long list of Northland-hailing Black Ferns including Leilani Perese, Charmaine Smith, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Eloise Blackwell and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu.
While Marino-Tauhinu is yet to earn her first cap with the national side, Te Iringa's was the only Northland new cap in a squad of this size after the talented lock/flanker was invited to larger Black Fern camps over the past few years.
Living in Whangārei and travelling to play in Auckland's premier women's rugby competition, Te Iringa learned of her selection on the same day as the announcement, while on the exercise bike, listening to Paramore at a gym.
"I was listening through headphones and then the music stopped because I was getting the call," Te Iringa said.
"To be honest, I didn't think I was going to get selected so I was so happy, I was overwhelmed, just lost for words."
The phone call was from Black Ferns assistant coach Wesley Clarke who told her she would be a contracted Black Fern, four years after she was first invited to a Black Ferns camp in 2015.
Te Iringa's journey to the top of women's rugby has been far from easy. Starting her career with Horahora's premier women's team in 2009 at 13 years old, Te Iringa found herself on the wing before slowly making her way into the forward pack.
The engine-room rookie seemed to be on the rise in Northland before the women's rugby competition devolved and disbanded in 2015, much to the displeasure of its players.
"It was so gutting, it was so sad," Te Iringa said.
"I felt so sorry for all the people who had the competition running, it's just so hard to explain."
Facing the unbearable truth of transitioning to a lesser-contact sport like netball, Te Iringa made a commitment to her rugby future by signing with Manurewa to play in Auckland's premier women's rugby competition in 2016.
As one of six Northland players at the time who had committed to the Auckland-based club, the team's trainings were moved to a Friday to accommodate their northern teammates as it allowed them to stay overnight and play the next day.
Te Iringa said the difficulties with travel and distance were insignificant compared to her burning desire to continue her rugby development.
"I just wanted to carry on playing rugby because I love the sport and I didn't want to stop.
"In my first year [with Manurewa], I was still learning the game but I think the more I went down to Auckland and played, I learned more and more."
Thanks to tireless work from Northland Rugby's women's rugby development manager Scott Collins, premier women's rugby is now back in Northland, with seven teams contesting the revived competition this year.
Te Iringa said she was excited by its return and looked forward to coming back and playing on home turf.
"I'm just giving it a year to build the level of rugby up because there are heaps of new girls, but there is heaps of talent up here as well."
Hoping to make her international debut at the Women's Rugby Super Series in the United States in June, Te Iringa was still in awe of the players she might get to take the field with.
"Playing alongside Kendra Cocksedge, Selica Winiata and Eloise Blackwell, it's so cool because I used to look up to them.
"They are the best team in the world and when I got the call that I was in, I was like, 'holy moley, I made it into the top 35 players in the top team in the world' and that's unreal."
Should she not gain her first cap, Te Iringa was still looking forward to contributing to Northland's inaugural Farah Palmer Cup entry this year. Combine that with a women's rugby World Cup in 2021 hosted partly in Northland, Te Iringa couldn't wait to see the players in her region flourish.
"I'm so excited to see what Northland brings to the table, there's so much talent up here."