Black Fern Doris Taufateau is now a teacher at her old stomping ground, Tamaki College. Lauren Priestley sat down with her to find out why she loves being back at high school.
Doris Taufateau won't deny she was a trouble-maker as a youngster.
The 26-year-old Glen Innes woman says she had no fear at school, struggled with authority issues and just lived life the way she wanted.
But by year 13 she had pulled herself together and was selected as Tamaki College's deputy head girl.
She is now working as a health and physical education teacher at her old high school and uses her own experiences to help others.
"I just think about what I used to do and I feel broken hearted.
"But my past has made me who I am today and my experiences help me to relate to the youth here. I can understand the teenage issues and say ‘I've been there before'."
Miss Taufateau has been rugby-mad ever since she was a tot growing up in Glen Innes. After finishing high school she continued the sport at College Rifles in 2007 and by 2008 she was playing for the Black Ferns.
Her proudest achievement was playing prop in the Black Ferns squad when they won the World Cup in 2010.
"I was such a tomboy as a little kid. I used to hang out with the boys and they played rugby so I did too," she says.
"I was one of those kids where my parents would plait my hair with ribbons and as soon as I left the house I would pull it out."
She enjoys the physicality of the game as well as the strong team relationships she has built.
When school wraps up this year she will start training for the 2014 World Cup team selection. She is currently in a squad of 80 preparing for the chance to play on the world stage.
Miss Taufateau completed her teaching degree earlier this year and her immediate thought was to get a teaching position at her old high school. And she's made a real difference.
Tamaki College students made a short film about her journey and achievements for the Pacific Achievers project last month.
"The kids had to choose a positive aspect from their school and they chose me. I just couldn't believe it."
Miss Taufateau is overwhelmingly proud of her school and says there are so many top achievers emerging from its halls.
"There's a whole community out there waiting for us to make a wrong move. I don't think people understand what potential could come out of this school.
"This school just gave me chance after chance - it's been so good to me. Anything to put Tamaki College on the map for me is a good thing."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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