22 year old Lulu Tuilotolava just became the FIRST Tongan to have made the Black Sticks Hockey team (NZ's National Womens Hockey Team) after being called up in May for the Tri Series against Australia and Japan & now again as part of the World Cup Squad who will be playing in England this month!
The 18 strong squad features 17 of the players who won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in April ... and Lulu! A spot became available in the team after midfielder Pippa Hayward retired.
Lulu was just 5 years old when her Dad, William Tuilotolava decided he wanted his children to play hockey. He had struck up a conversation with former Black Stick Caryn Paewai at the airport and then went home and told his wife he wanted his kids to get into hockey and since then Lulu and all of her siblings have played.
She started playing at Southern Districts Hockey Club in South Auckland and there weren't many other Pacific Islanders playing the sport but she said that it's slowly changing. "When I first played Premier Grade there was one other girl who was Samoan but it's been pretty cool to see the growth of it."
She said in the interview below with One News that she's proud to be the first Tongan selected in the team but hopes there's more to come.
"It just shows that Tongan kids can come out and play hockey."
She's currently studying Communications and would to be a Sports Journalist one day but she'll be taking a break from studies for now to join the Black Sticks who leave New Zealand on Sunday for Germany where they'll play in a warm-up tournament next week. Their first game in the World Cup takes place against Belgium on the 23rd of July.
Check out footage of her playing for Auckland against Northland where she scores the last goal.