Lakita Morris-Meredith at just 17 is the only female American Football referee in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In 2017 she also became the first female and youngest ref from Aotearoa/New Zealand to officiate at the IFAF Women's World Championship held in Canada.
Lakita grew-up with Gridiron all around her. Her dad, Paul Meredith, played in local team 'WildCats' and represented New Zealand in their national team, the SteelBlacks (previously IronBlacks).
Although Lakita tried some other sports like soccer, it was always gridiron which attracted her. But, being a girl she wasn't allowed to play even though she says with a laugh, she "could've smashed those boys".
Lakita instead had to put-up with being a 'watergirl' at the games, while all the time asking questions about the rules. This led her into beginning as a ref at the age of 15. Now at the age of 17 she is in her third season and an inspiring islander as the only female gridiron referee in the country.