September 28, 2022

Crystal Kaua named Head Coach of Waitomo Chiefs Manawa

The Chiefs Rugby Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Crystal Kaua as Head Coach of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa.

Kaua will join Victoria Grant, newly appointed to the Hurricanes Poua, as the first women in a Head Coach role in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition.

Kaua has an outstanding resume, both as a player and coach. During her playing career, Kaua made both the Sevens and 15's trial squads for the Black Ferns and played for the Aotearoa Sevens Māori side. She also played for the Waikato and Auckland Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) teams. Since turning her hand to coaching, she has assisted many other women to succeed in rugby in New Zealand, Japan and overseas. Most notably, Kaua for the past 5 years, has been a full-time professional coach, the first women to do so for New Zealand Rugby, as the Black Ferns Sevens skills coach and performance analyst.

Speaking on her new role Kaua said, “I have a deep connection to the Chiefs Region. I started my club rugby and FPC here and coached School, Club, age grades and FPC in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.”

“I love this club and everything it represents; I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. Leading the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa is an honour and I want to do everything I can to help our team succeed.”

During the 2022 Super Rugby Aupiki season, Kaua supported Allan Bunting as an assistant coach for their inaugural title win. In 2023, Bunting will pass the reins to Kaua who deservingly steps into this top position.

Black Ferns Manager of Culture and Leadership Allan Bunting said, "I am very proud of Crystal, she has worked hard and has a lot of passion for the sport so will thrive in this position. I enjoyed working with her earlier this year for the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa and look forward to seeing what she achieves when she takes the lead."

The Chiefs Rugby Club is a strong advocate for the progression of women within the rugby ecosystem and is constantly looking at ways to increase their opportunities. This is something that Kaua is also aligned with.

“There is an opportunity to shift the game with the platform of semi-professionalism, we want to take that opportunity with two hands. We have a player group that is skilled and uncompromising, and we want to play a brand of rugby that is decisive and inspiring,” said Kaua.

Chiefs Rugby Club Manawa Programme Director Kate Rawnsley said “Crystal was instrumental in building the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa culture founded on ‘Chiefs Mana’ that saw us through the impact of Covid-19. She is an outstanding leader and coach, and we look forward to her continuing to grow Waitomo Chiefs Manawa both on and off the field”.

After a successful maiden season, the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa will be looking to defend their Super Rugby Aupiki title in 2023 with two home games scheduled to be played at FMG Stadium Waikato. This includes the Finals round of the competition which will see all four Aupiki sides play in a doubleheader on Saturday the 25th of March.

The Chiefs Rugby Club is also proud to announce that Waitomo Chiefs Manawa memberships will be on sale from the 3rd of October where our fans can purchase a standalone membership or combine it with a Gallagher Chiefs membership for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific and Aupiki seasons.

Fans can register their interest in memberships to be notified when they go live.
Register interest:

(bold dictates a home game)
Round 1: 25 February 2023, Hurricanes Poua vs Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Levin Domain, Levin 2.05 pm (NZT)
Round 2: 4 March 2023, Blues vs Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, North Harbour Stadium, North Shore, 2.05 pm (NZT)
Round 3: 11 March 2023, Waitomo Chiefs Manawa vs Matatū, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton 2.05 pm (NZT)
Semi-Final: 19 March 2023, North Harbour Stadium, North Shore, 3.15 pm / 6.05 pm (NZT)
Final: 25 March 2023, FMG Stadium Waikato, 11.35 am / 2.05 pm (NZT)

Crystal Kaua named Head Coach of Waitomo Chiefs Manawa
Crystal Kaua named Head Coach of Waitomo Chiefs Manawa