Te Waikaukau and Milly Marshall-Kirkwood are great friends, and like many 10-year-old girls, their friendship involves lots of hanging out together, watching each other play sport and cheering each other on.

So when Te Waikaukau saw a competition on The Hits Taranaki Facebook page giving a lucky winner the chance to lead the Taranaki Bulls on to the pitch at the start of their home game, she immediately knew if she won, she would want to include Milly as well.

Entering the competition, Te Waikaukau wrote, "I would love to lead out the Bulls with my friend Milly who has Marfan syndrome. She is very tall (like a giraffe) and spends a lot of time using a wheelchair. If we got the privilege to run out with the team, it would be the best."

Emma Helleur, The Hits Taranaki day announcer, says while the competition was for one child to go on to the pitch, Te Waikaukau's entry was hard to ignore.


"So we talked to the Taranaki Rugby Football Union about it, and they agreed we could have both girls come out and lead the team on to the pitch for the very last home game of the season."

Before school broke up for the holidays, Emma paid a surprise visit to the girls at Norfolk School.

When she explained why she was there, the classroom erupted with cheers for the two girls, who were thrilled to be chosen.

"I love watching the rugby on television but I've never been to a live game before."

Te Waikaukau says she loves watching rugby, and was excited to be going to watch the game live.

Milly also has not been to a live game before, and is looking forward to the experience.

Both girls are keen sportswomen, with Te Waikaukau playing netball, rugby and rugby league as well as swimming, while Milly plays wheelchair basketball, netball and swimming. Last weekend, Milly was one of the competitors at the Halberg Games in Auckland.

Both girls say their friendship is based on lots of mutual interests such as sport, as well as similar senses of humour.

Milly says Te Waikaukau is kind and funny, and Te Waikaukau says Milly is very caring.

While Milly's mum describes them as "good little buddies", Te Waikaukau's mum is blunter.

"They're thick as thieves those two. Don't be fooled by them, they're always up to some mischief together."