Kelston’s Zion Ioka eyes medical career but also has bright future on sporting field.
Zion Ioka has his life mapped out away from the sporting field.
The 17-year-old Kelston Boys' High School deputy head boy wants to be a doctor, following in the footsteps of another top Samoan scholar/sportsman Jeremy Stanley, who did just that in the mid-1990s.
And Ioka, the eldest of nine, is doing well enough in his chosen sport of rugby league to be giving himself some serious options when he leaves school at the end of the year.
The captain of the Kelston First XIII, he has been in sparkling form in the Wednesday afternoon CRL competition, scoring plenty of points and laying on tries in victories over Westlake Boys' High, Massey High and Henderson High.
Things did not pan out quite so well against Western Springs last week when Kelston suffered its first loss of 2014 and Ioka missed a few shots.
But off days afflict all kickers.
Ioka started playing league at age 6 for the junior club New Lynn Stags. Now he turns out for the Glenora Bears on Saturdays.
The premiers have got their eye on him, as have the Warriors. He is already in the club's development programme, and is learning about the correct nutrition for athletes. He looks up to Shaun Johnson and Cooper Cronk.
Goalkicking is a key plank of Ioka's game, and he gets in a lot of practice.
"I live just down the road from Kelston Intermediate, so I'm always down there kicking goals.
"They've built fences up there, so I've learned to climb over them!" quips Ioka.
Last season he was a key part of the Kelston First XIII that won the national schools title and was runner-up in Auckland. He kicked 41 goals in the latter competition, and found himself named in the national merit squad.
So it is league in the winter and touch and tag in the summer, where he has reached national under 17s and 16s honours in both.
He admits he is going to have to find the right balance next year when he enters medical school at the University of Auckland, but he has help to achieve those goals.
"I've got a lot of support from Mr [Brent] Semmons [the Kelston director of sport] and other teachers and my other mates."
He was junior dux and is one of the top senior scholars now, maths and biology being his favourite subjects.
A devout Mormon, Ioka tries not to play or train on Sundays.
"Sunday is my rest day. I'll come home from church and plan for my week. I'll have a set timetable. I sit down with my parents and try and get everything in."
This is a personal decision, he emphasises, and not necessarily a hard and fast rule, a la another famous West Aucklander, Michael Jones.
"There's been heaps of clashes [of scheduling], but people help out to make sure I don't have to train or play on Sundays. I've got more lenient since I've been at high school.
"It's getting harder not to play and I have played a few games on Sundays now," says Ioka.
He cites the example of devout Mormon Will Hopoate, who plays on Sundays in the NRL for the Parramatta Eels.
Ioka will line up for Kelston in this afternoon's final Pool A college league clash at Avondale College.
Moascar Cup (May 28): Auckland Grammar 15 Hamilton BHS 13
Chiefs Cup final: Rotorua BHS 43 Tauranga Boys' College 21
Chiefs Trophy final: Hamilton BHS Second XV 41 Trident High School 15
North Harbour 1A: Westlake BHS 65 Orewa 9, Rosmini 32 Rangitoto 10, Massey 53 Takapuna Grammar 7
Boys' premier league:
Westlake BHS 4 Auckland Grammar 2, MAGS 2 St Kentigern 2, Sacred Heart 5 Glendowie 0, Macleans 4 Kelston BHS 1
(Midweek): Westlake BHS 3 MAGS 0
Chatham Cup: Onehunga Sports 4 MAGS 1
Rangitoto 2 Takapuna Grammar 0, Kristin 3 Liston 2, St Peter's 1 King's 1, Onehunga 3 Rosmini 2
Senior A2: Avondale 2 Papatoetoe 0, Mt Roskill Grammar 4 Pakuranga 0, Long Bay 4 Northcote 3, Rutherford 3 Western Springs 2
Girls' premier leagues:
Greater Auckland Premier 1 (U19): EGGS 4 Avondale 2; MAGS 10 Botany Downs 0; Takapuna 3 Rangitoto 0; St Kentigern 5 St Mary's 1; Onehunga 1 Westlake GHS 0; Diocesan 3 Massey 1
Greater Auckland Premier 2 (U19): Baradene 1 Long Bay 0; Marist 2 Glendowie 0; Western Springs 2 Northcote 0; Whangaparaoa 2 Pinehurst 0; Green Bay 2 Lynfield 0
Counties Manukau Premier: Howick 2 Pakuranga 0; Pukekohe 1 Rosehill 0; Macleans 2 Waiuku 1
Greater Auckland Premier Junior A (U15) Div 1: Baradene 1 Diocesan 0; Avondale 1 EGGS A 1; St Cuthbert's 2 Rangitoto 1; St Kentigern 2 Westlake GHS 1; MAGS A 3 St Mary's 0
Westlake BHS 34 Auckland Seventh-day Adventist 0, Henderson 20 Massey 14, Western Springs 22 Kelston BHS 16, MAGS 20 Tangaroa 14, St Paul's 32 Aorere 0, Pakuranga 34 Mt Roskill Grammar 14, Papatoetoe 34 Lynfield 4, Otahuhu 40 Papakura 18, Southern Cross 24 James Cook 16, Manurewa 30 Sir Edmund Hillary 0
Strathallan Aces 6 Alfriston Aces 0
Manurewa One 5 Rosehill Two 1
Rosehill One 6 James Cook One 0
Senior boys A: Westlake Boys' Green 4 Westlake Boys' Blue 4, Westlake Boys' Red 6 Westlake Boys' Yellow 2
Senior boys A/B: Orewa One 8 Kristin Four 0, Rangitoto One 8 Rangitoto Three 0, Kristin Two 8 Rangitoto Five 0, Rangitoto Two 4 Rangitoto Four 4, Kristin 6 Rangitoto Six 2
Senior girls' A/B: Birkenhead One 7 Carmel Two 1, Westlake Girls' One 8 Westlake Girls' Five 0, Birkenhead Three 6 Northcote One 2, Westlake Girls' Four 5 Carmel Three 3, Carmel One 7 Birkenhead Two 1, Westlake Girls' Two 8 Carmel Five 0, Glenfield One 6 Carmel Four 2, Takapuna Grammar One 8 Westlake Girls' Three 0, Orewa One 8 Rangitoto Three 0, Pinehurst One 8 Kristin One 0, Rangitoto One 8 Orewa Three 0, Rangitoto Four 7 Long Bay One 1, Orewa Two 8 Kristin Two 0