Sport | Basketball

Kaitāia basketball player shoots to US college on scholarship

From Kaitāia to the US, a netballer turned basketball player is soon to study in Nebraska on a four-year scholarship in August.

Shakani Murray (Ngāti Kurī, Ngāi Takoto, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Tainui, Ngāpuhi) was awarded both an academic and basketball scholarship by the Chadron State College a few weeks ago.

Murray said that, throughout her high school years, she had moved around multiple schools to pursue basketball.

“In terms of getting a scholarship, you can’t really get that with netball. I wanted to get back to basketball and pursue a career out of this.

“In my mind I was set on staying in Kaitaia and going to university but my whanau said: You’re going to move to Tauranga and you’re going to stay with these people.’ It wasn’t too overwhelming for me because I had already been to Hamilton Girls [high school] for two years and I was boarding.”

She said after the closing down of her school in Kaitāia, her coach helped her to find another secondary school team to play for.

There was a spot in the Mount Maunganui College basketball team where she was able to take part in tournaments, which helped her to get scouted.

“I knew a couple of girls down here though, so it was kind of all good. But at the start it was “woah, okay”, quite overwhelming,” she said.

Murray said she owed her success to whānau and friends who had supported her journey.

“We were doing countless fundraisers for me to go to certain tournaments and everything. The level of support that I got from all the people - and they still message me to this day.

“All the love that I get from my family and friends here in Kaitāia and Whangārei, it’s just everywhere. I’m just grateful for that and I couldn’t be where I am without the people who have supported me.”

Te Rito