To say 2019 was a busy year for Northland rugby league and union star Kararaina Wira-Kohu would be an understatement.
The 27-year-old Whangārei resident's achievements last year included winning the Auckland Rugby League (ARL) club competition with Papakura on July 14, in a final where Wira-Kohu kicked the game-winning conversion and was named Most Valuable Player.
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She then won the New Zealand national rugby league championships with the Counties Manukau Stingrays over rivals the Akarana Falcons 32-4 on July 28, before winning the Māori rugby league nationals with Ngāti Umutahi the following weekend.
Following her success in league, Wira-Kohu switched codes to union where she was an integral part of the Northland women's rugby team, the Kauri, making the semifinals in their maiden season of the Farah Palmer Cup.
Wira-Kohu was then a double winner with the Manurewa team at the Pacific Cup sevens competition in Auckland in November where she triumphed in two divisions.
If that wasn't enough, Wira-Kohu was then selected for the New Zealand Māori Ferns wider squad and, should she make it through the final squad selection this weekend, will travel to Australia to take on the women's Indigenous All Stars at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on February 22.
While her achievements in 2019 are remarkable on their own, Wira-Kohu's efforts last year are emphasised by her duty looking after her sister's four children since December, 2018.
"The years before, I was pretty much based in Auckland, but now I'm a full-time aunty who looks after the kids," she said with a laugh.
Despite the attention four children require, the 27-year-old said it hadn't held her back from maintaining her high standard of training.
"They come to every training, they come up Parihaka, I make them run the loop, take them up Mt Manaia, they do everything."
However, with a training and playing schedule which saw her often busy each night of the week, Wira-Kohu said she was grateful to have the support of whānau and friends.
Wira-Kohu's talent with the oval ball was not something of luck but of tradition. Her mother, Mary Wira, played for Northland in 1991 and was the first to encourage her daughter to play senior rugby at age 12 for Hora Hora.
"I was on the sidelines and [Hora Hora] were short and they told me to get on," Wira-Kohu said.
"I asked my Mum and she told me, 'Sweet, go, just don't tell your Dad', so I jumped on and scored a run-away try against Moerewa."
Wira-Kohu was able to continue her mother's legacy in the Cambridge Blue of Northland this year, as one of the senior members of the Kauri in their first season playing in New Zealand's top domestic women's rugby competition.
Formerly of the Counties Manukau Heat, Wira-Kohu said it was satisfying to don the Northland jersey and play in front of her whānau.
"I tell everyone, winning the ARL, nationals, Māori nationals, even making the All Stars wider squad, it's nothing like making Northland.
"I think it's just the history behind it and I'm from here. When you play for where you're from, it's a little bit different, it just means a bit more."
Four consecutive wins in the back end of the competition led the Kauri to a semifinal against Hawke's Bay. With experienced campaigners Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Krystal Murray and Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, Wira-Kohu said she was proud of the standard the team had set.
"We wanted to set a good culture and start a really good platform so if we went away or didn't come back this year, at least there's a platform there and it's solid so the others that do come through, there's an expectation."
Wira-Kohu's recent success had not come without struggle. In early 2018, her father Franklin Kohu passed away which saw the young athlete retreat from rugby league for about four months.
It wasn't until she featured in a 10s tournament for Hora Hora that she realised her passion for the game had returned. She went on to register a perfect season with the Manurewa club to win the ARL.
"It just grounded me a little bit and made me realise it's not the end of the world and then I went back and we made history [with Manurewa], we went undefeated in the whole year."
The Northlander's talents had already caught the eyes of overseas clubs with the St George Illawarra Dragons Australian rugby league club offering Wira-Kohu her dream of playing in the NRL women's premiership.
With four children to care for, Wira-Kohu turned down the offer but with her sights still set on playing for the Warriors in the near future, she was determined to set a good example for her whānau.
"I want them to know, it doesn't matter how busy you are, how strenuous things are, you always chase you goals," she said.
"I just figure if I can do it, they'll see me and think, 'If aunty is doing that, then I can do it too'."