Young teen Joshua Buckner chosen for rugby league opportunity to New Zealand

Joshua Buckner from Liku

A 15-year-old Niue High school student Joshua Buckner Poumale has been selected to join the Auckland Niue Rugby League Under 15 Tau Tama Taane Squad competing in the Pasifika Youth Cup in November in Auckland. He has left on today’s flight to New Zealand. 

BCN News caught up with young Joshua and his coach Dave Ulutkita at their training session in the past two weeks. 

Joshua Buckner told BCN News that he is very humbled to have been selected 

“I’m very grateful and humbled and going to be blessed. I know in my legal documents I was born in a different place but in my blood I am a Niuean, Tama Niue mooli. My father is a Liku-Niuean and I am forever grateful to him for raising me here. I pray I will become  a citizen of this country and be able to represent Niue in the future.” 

BCN News also spoke with his coach Dave Ulukita about how this opportunity for Joshua came about.

“So Sua is a part of the Toa Motu PYC development training camps. We’ve identified Sua as a player that we can send over to New Zealand and further develop his rugby league.” 

The young patriotic rugby league player said that he may carry a US passport right now but he is a Niuean at heart and dreams of one day representing Niue in the game.

“My plan is to stay here and look after my family, my mum. I stick to the words my father gave me, stay and take care of my mum. But if I get a chance for the big leagues, I pray I will always represent Niue, I am a Niuean.”   

Dave Ulukita says that he is also very pleased with the development of the game of rugby league on the island, considering the sport was just officially established locally a few years ago. Ulukita said that this year is the first year they are sending a player for the 15 and under competitions 

“This year is the first year. So it’s just trial and error. We are sending three more in January to join the U18 Auckland Niue rugby league. I just want to say thank you to Auckland Niue Rugby League for allowing us to send our boys over from Niue. It’s a great opportunity for the young ones and something for them to do.” 

Ulukita said that they are grateful to the principal and management of Niue High school for allowing the students to be trained on Friday during their lunch breaks and also for the use of the school grounds for their league training. 

Joshua is accompanied by his Mum who have departed the island on today’s flight to Auckland.

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