One of the 80 talented basketballers pushing themselves to the limit in Invercargill right now is Kayla Manuirirangi. She’s representing Waikato at the NBL’s latest product, the Schick 3X3 Cup.

In 2015 the NZ basketball community farewelled Manuirirangi as she headed to the US on a full-ride scholarship at Tulane University in New Orleans. There she thrived, stacking up the minutes for the Tulane Green Waves, playing a large majority of each season’s schedule to rack up 119 games for the Div I school. She ended her Tulane College career tied for ninth in the school’s all-time three-point shooters with 157.

In her final year and with graduation looming, COVID-19 forced her to pack up and board a flight to New Zealand just before lock down earlier this year.

Back home in New Plymouth, Manuirirangi completed her studies online and graduated in May with a Bachelor of Since and Public Health, with a double minor in psychology and management. The 23 year-old is now interning with the Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit, researching how iwi responded to lockdown and impact of COVID-19.

With the early stages of a career unfolding in the health sector, Kayla says she found herself weighing up the commitments of high-level basketball, but the love of the game holds strong and when the Sky Sport Tall Ferns selectors picked her for the Sky Sport Showcase in August, the spark was reignited.

Her commitment certainly can’t be questioned, with Manuirirangi driving three hours every weekend for the past two months to train with Anthony Corban’s 3X3 side in the Waikato.

The Waikato Wizards had a late change with Tall Fern Matangiroa Flavell a late withdrawal due to family commitments and have been tested at this event, but moments or Manuirirangi class are frequent. She has two secondary school’s national championships to her name, one in 3X3 and the other in 5X5, when she led her New Plymouth Girls’ High side to both victories in 2014.

Now she’s etched into the Tall Ferns selectors’ longlist, this is a player to watch.


Schick 3×3 Cup – Further information