Tai Tupa isn’t in the kitchen cooking tonight’s roast chicken chop suey, rice and veges, though. She’s at the table, laying down the law.
Every mealtime, they have a team talk. The sports talk is led by coach Nooroa Tupa (her brother); the management talk is led by Tai.
Tupa is the team manager and has no time for old-fashioned ideas about men, women and rugby. She’s the boss.
“They all stay at our big family house. It turns out good for us because it bonds the boys closer and quickly.
“I’m relaxed with my approach to the boys. When they’re together I prefer they call me Aunty. Some of the new boys, we need to put them at ease, so our house is their home.”
The family sponsors the team – they budget $12,000 a year. But the wider family all turn up with boxes of pawpaw and watermelon and more, to help out.