HERA- Lulu Tuilotolava the First Tongan Black Stick
Louisa Tuilotolava (Lulu) was born and raised in South Auckland. At 21 years old, Lulu made her debut as the first Tongan to represent New Zealand in the Black Sticks Women’s Hockey Team in 2018 against Japan.
“I got into sport and active recreation when I was a child. I was encouraged by my parents to give anything and everything a go.”
Lulu has recently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Massey University and works as a Healthy Active Learning Community Connector at CLM Counties Manukau.
What does it mean to you to be physically active?
To be free! It’s having the freedom to express yourself.
What activities did you do before/as well as hockey?
I would participate in all sorts of different sports and activities. From playing with my neighbours to riding scooters or even cleaning the house! I would try new and different sports and activities such as athletics, basketball, soccer and touch.
I gave everything a go during the weekdays, but hockey was my weekend sport.
How does it feel to wear the Silver Fern?
It feels very special to wear the Silver Fern.
I was honoured to represent, not only my country, but myself and most importantly, my family and friends who supported me and who are always in my corner 💜
How does being physically active make you feel?
Being physically active makes me feel like I’ve achieved a small goal.
Going out and being active makes me feel refreshed and good about myself.
How do you overcome setbacks? Or what do you do tell yourself when dealing with setbacks?
I always reflect on the situation and see where there is room for improvement. I always tell myself to “trust the process” and remind myself that there are always going to be some setbacks along the way. But I never give up, always keep stiving to do the best you can.
What are the key factors that have enabled you, and continue to enable you to be physically active?
My family and friends are my key enables. It’s important to surround yourself with good people who are there to support you and are willing to help you to be the best that you can be.
I’ve found that the support I receive from others always makes me want to deliver and show them that their support and belief in me is worth something.
What advice would you give young women and girls looking to get physically active?
Go out there and give something a try, it’ll be worth it in the end!