If you scroll through this year's Bay of Plenty Hockey team sheets, one surname seems to pop up over and over again.

Rotorua siblings Tuhia Hohepa, 21, Te aumihi Hohepa, 16, Nopera Hohepa, 13, Te oranga Hohepa, 12, and Pia Hohepa-Kuka, 11, have all made Bay of Plenty hockey teams for their age groups.

The sixth sibling, Waihuia Hohepa, 20, is also a rising star of the sport, but chose not to play representative hockey this year.

Their mother, Cherie Marks, said the two oldest, Tuhia and Waihuia, started playing hockey at a young age - the others followed in their footsteps.


"They played for school and worked their way up through all the age group Bay of Plenty rep teams. The other kids, because they were all little, they came with me to all the tournaments. I took them too.

"They watched the older kids play and I think that's where they got the desire to do the same. My brothers all played hockey and Tuhia used to watch them, that's where it all really started."

Marks said she was "very proud" of all her children had achieved.

"I didn't know if my younger ones were going to do rep teams. I think because of watching the older sister and what she had to go through to get into high performance, but they still did it.

"It is pretty busy, we're not home very often, but we make it work. We have a calendar saved into our phones and a whiteboard and a sheet in the house which show who's training or playing where and when. Weekends are tricky but we try to make it to each of the kids' games. The older ones help out a lot with getting the younger ones to where they need to be. Tuhia has probably coached all of them at different times as well.

"It is highly competitive between them all. We spend a lot of time at different turfs throughout summer. The older ones guide the younger ones in their development."

The Hohepa siblings do not stick solely to hockey either, with basketball and rugby also in the mix. Marks would not have it any other way.

"Sport keeps them fit, it keeps them healthy. It not only feeds their body, it feeds their soul and their mind and it teaches them to take care of other people in their teams. Teamwork is huge, it's a life skill.


"You're not going to win every game, so it teaches them how to lose graciously. That can actually be a really hard thing to learn, you go out there and play your game, you listen to your coach and you do your job," she said.

Tuhia said she played hockey because it was and made her feel "safe and happy".

"It makes me feel safe because I know what I'm doing. I am competitive, I think if you're not competitive it shows in your game. It's more confidence than competitiveness, you have to have confidence in yourself to progress forward."

She enjoyed seeing her younger siblings follow in her footsteps.

"Probably the one that's closest to myself is the second youngest, Te oranga. He can do some skills that I can't do, like reverse hitting. But, it's cool to see that in his intermediate team, he knows he's good, but he still shares the ball to help others gain confidence and feel comfortable, so they can shine as well.

"I'll give them small pieces of advice, but other than that I try not to have too much input. Sometimes the more information in the head, it kind of muddles up their game. As a kid I think they just need to play."