WIRA has more than 500 founding members from all over Aotearoa, from all walks of life and from all facets of rugby including players, coaches and the volunteers who manage teams, parent, fundraise and fill the trestle tables for the after-match function.
WIRA members have joined different teams within the organisation to develop our approach towards a number of key aspects including player welfare and pathways, governance, fan engagement, volunteer support, referee development, media and story-telling.
Traci Houpapa MNZM
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Black Ferns 7s, Black Ferns
A current director of Super Rugby, Traci is also a loyal supporter and sponsor of the game. She believes that the sport provides a platform for all women to stand on, and that this is a key reason for the sports exponential global growth. Traci is inspired by those who work together to help other be the best.
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Otago University A Women’s Side, Craighhead Diocesean School
Kate aspires to enable every and any girl or women to experience the benefits the sport can provide on and off the field. As an ex-player of the game herself, who has now enjoyed a 12-year career within the super rugby franchises of the Highlanders and the Chiefs, she wants to help create an environment where every women feels part of the team from players to administrators.
Honey Hireme-Smiler MNZM
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Putaruru Women’s Rugby, Black Ferns,
Raised and inspired by mana wahine to stand tall and determine her own destiny, Honey has established a career in rugby from player to commentator to board member. She strongly believes that rugby provides the vehicle for kotiro/wahine to be empowered to live a great life and strives to build a pathway in women’s rugby that enables them to reach the stars.
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Black Fern 7s, Hamilton Girl's High School
Ex-player and coach, Sharleen believes that rugby teaches values and builds character for all wahine. As a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Advisory Group, she is inspired by young women who show courage and vulnerability – traits that provide them with incredible opportunities on and off the field.
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Wainuiomata High School, Wellington Pride, Black Ferns 7s
As a current women’s rugby player, Alice is inspired by the next generation of our sisters who are taking up our great game. Giving her all to women’s rugby and seeing the passion and growth in the game, she wants nothing more than for the game of rugby to “love us back”.
Favourite women’s rugby teams: Hamilton Girl's High School 15s / 7s
Inspired by her own sons, who want girls and women to have access to the same opportunities they do, NZ Rugby board member and passionate supporter Jennifer Kerr knows that the game can inspire and unify Aotearoa. All women and girls want to be part of this great game and should be enabled to do so.
WIRA Group Leaders
The team make-up
14% governance members
Numbers on the rise
Female player numbers rose to a total of 27,838, which represents a 14.6 percent increase on 2017 with the growth in popularity spread across all age groups.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Women’s Rugby Development, Cate Sexton said the continuing growth represented an exciting opportunity for the game.
“Following our double-digit growth last year these figures show there is a real generational shift going on in our game and it’s great to see so many young girls being inspired to give rugby a go.
“The biggest area of growth was in our youngest demographic with a more than 15 percent increase in Small Blacks, so the future is very bright.
“I have no doubt many of them have been inspired by the success of our Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens teams and the example they are setting on and off the field.”
All good teams have great supporters
Be part of our team
Wāhine have much to offer our national game, both on and off the field. We are harnessing the collective power of our membership to be ambitious for what our sport can become and the part wāhine can play in leading it forward.