Moana Pasifika

Newcomers kick off Super Rugby Pacific

The draw for the 15-week regular season, announced on Monday, gives teams a total of 14 matches. These are made up of 11 round-robin fixtures plus the introduction of three additional rivalry matches which will see each team play a home and away series against three other teams.

The top eight teams will join a play-off series in the first week of June. The final is scheduled for 18 June.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said the draw was easy to understand and a level playing field for the teams involved.

'We're going to give it everything' - Moana Pasifika's road to Super Rugby

The Auckland-based franchise will join an expanded competition next year alongside the Fijian Drua and five teams each from New Zealand and Australia.

Head coach Aaron Mauger has been working from his Dunedin home since Tāmaki Makaurau went into lockdown in August, focused on player and staff recruitment and planning the team's first pre-season campaign.

"It's nice, every time we have a management meeting each week there seems to be another person popping on, so that group's growing and they're really critical to helping build our programme."

Filo Tiatia joins Moana Pasifika as assistant coach

He plied his trade in New Zealand, Wales and Japan during a 19 year professional rugby career, including 57 appearance for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby.

Tiatia also has 14 years of professional coaching experience, including stints in charge of Toyota Verblitz and the Sunwolves Super Rugby franchise in Japan, and as an assistant coach with Auckland and the Japanese national team.

The 50 year old will be in charge of the forwards with Moana Pasifika and has already begun working alongside head coach Aaron Mauger.

Actor KJ Apa becomes Moana Pasifika's first official fan

The 24 year-old Riverdale star is the nephew of Moana Pasifika Trust chair and Samoan and All Blacks rugby legend Savae Sir Michael Jones.

With ties to the villages of Moata'a and Nuusuatia in Samoa, where his father Tupa'i Keneti Apa was bestowed his paramount chiefly title, Apa was a talented rugby player at high school before making it big in Hollywood.

The US-based actor said he will be supporting Moana Pasifika from afar and hopes to head home to New Zealand to catch a game as soon as he can.

Moana Pasifika confirm signing of Wallabies centurion Sekope Kepu

A veteran of 16 years of professional rugby experience, Kepu joins the new expansion side from Counties Manukau after joining the province for the 2021 NPC season.

The Covid-19 outbreak in New Zealand’s northern regions in recent months restricted the 35-year-old to just two appearances for the Steelers before Counties Manukau, as well as Auckland and North Harbour, were omitted from the remainder of the provincial campaign.

Crusaders half-back is the second player to sign with Moana Pasifika

The 24-year-old has five Super Rugby titles under his belt and is currently playing for Hawke's Bay in New Zealand's domestic National Provincial Championship competition.

Enari joins former Wallabies first five Christian Leali'ifano who was confirmed as Moana Pasifika's first major signing on Thursday.

Two more players are expected to be announced today.


Christian Leali'ifano confirmed as Moana Pasifika's first major signing


The 34 year-old has an impressive career total of 171 points with the Australian national side between 2013 and 2019, including a Rugby World Cup campaign.

Leali'ifano was a key playmaker in Brumbies Super Rugby campaigns between 2008 and 2019 with 150 Super Rugby appearances.

In 2016 he was diagnosed with leukemia. After a successful bone marrow transplant he returned to Super Rugby in 2017 before heading overseas for a short stint in Ireland's Pro14 and European Rugby Champions Cup with Ulster.

Moana Pasifka to confirm Aaron Mauger as coach

RNZ Pacific first reported in July that the former All Black would take charge of the Super Rugby newcomers, with Filo Tiatia as his assistant coach.

Moana Pasifika posted on social media last night that the team's head coach would be revealed soon, with a silhouette that clearly matched the 45 test veteran.

The 40-year-old is of Samoan, Cook Islands and Tahitian descent and was a part of the Moana Pasifika coaching team for last year's one-off clash against the Māori All Blacks.

Moana Pasifika to call Mt Smart home

The Penrose-based venue has been the home of the New Zealand Warriors since 1995, where they began their jounrey as a start-up franchise.

Moana Pasifika patron Tuifa'asisina Sir Bryan Williams said they were humbled to share Mt Smart as its home playing base.

"We've worked extremely hard to get to this point, and to have a sense of home and place to continue building our unique brand in the world's most competitive professional competition is huge," he said.

Aaron Mauger backed to succeed as Moana Pasifika coach

The Auckland-based franchise was yesterday granted an unconditional licence to join an expanded competition next year.

RNZ Pacific understands former Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger, who is of Samoan and Cook Islands descent, will lead the team in 2022, with fellow former All Black Filo Tiatia coming on board as an assistant coach.

Mauger was a part of the Moana Pasifika coaching staff against the Māori All Blacks last year and Kefu believed it was a good fit.

"Very good coaches, very capable," he said of the impending appointments.