Netball star helps cancer kids
She has given many of her opponents nightmares but Northern Mystics and Silver Ferns netballer Maria Tutaia is now using her star power to offer support to young people living with cancer.
The talented athlete is taking time out of her hectic training schedule, ahead of next week's Netball Constellation Cup, to be the face of CanTeen's Bandanna Challenge; a fundraising initiative close to her heart.
The 25-year-old says she jumped at the opportunity to be involved with CanTeen, which supports cancer patients aged 13 to 24 and their siblings.
"I've had quite a few family members who have died from cancer, so what better way to support my peers than by being a part of something amazing and hopefully make a difference," Tutaia said.
She initially came on board as a CanTeen Ambassador in 2008 and has designed a bandanna every year for Bandanna Challenge, including this year's which begins tomorrow.
But this year she will also appear on TV screens in a commercial appealing to New Zealanders for their support.
CanTeen receives no direct government funding so relies on its own fundraising efforts and the generosity of the New Zealand public.
The funds raised through Bandanna Challenge will go towards counselling workshops, development and leadership programmes, and recreational activities.
Bandannas will be on sale for $4 each from September 14 at schools, selected shops and and at www.canteen.org.nz.