The Black Ferns and Northland hooker is in isolation at home in Kaitaia, where she’s been keeping herself busy with workouts, Bananagrams and schoolwork.
Ngata-Aerengamate teaches at Kaitaia College, where she looks after Year 9 to Year 12 students.
“School started back again last week, so it’s been cool to connect with my students and my work mates, because I’ve been missing them. I’m glad this lockdown is hopefully coming to an end and we can get out and about.”
Luckily, Ngata-Aerengamate had a gym set up at home last year and her and her Northland teammate Krystal Murray have been keeping friends, family and fans entertained with their workout warmups on social media.
“Last year we didn’t appreciate the home gym, but it’s now come in handy during lockdown. We used to still just go to the gym in town, but now we appreciate the gym space very much.
“I’ve always loved dancing with my workouts and it’s something I’ve done for a while. But in isolation, it’s just a way to have some fun and start the workout with a dance. The first dance was a hit and people wanted us to keep doing it, but I had to tell them it’s just going to be three a week and they have to cut out the requests.
“But it’s been fun, and it gets people excited for a workout. Everyone is struggling for motivation at the moment, so it’s a good little get up.”
Bananagrams is a huge hit in the Black Ferns squad, and ‘TK’ has played a couple of virtual games with teammate Leilani Perese and a few of the girls in the team.
The 28-year old is never seen without a guitar in the Black Ferns environment, and she loves to have a sing-along. She’s been brought up with music all around her.
“Music in my family was about togetherness, joy and laughter. I have cool memories of when I was younger, just gathering together and singing songs. Music takes me on a journey, back to good times or bad and it’s a sense of stress release for me as well. It heals the mind and soul. Music has played a big part on me on both my Māori & Cook Island side, whether it was singing Kapa Haka, in the choir for Sunday school or singing Cook Island songs.
“My Mum and Dad both played guitar and most of their siblings and my cousins also play instruments. My Uncle Sol was my inspiration when I was younger. He’s very talented and played all instruments; guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and the saxophone.”
The famous ‘Band Ferns’ came about at the 2014 World Cup in France. It was Ngata-Aerengamate and her best friend, and Black Ferns teammate Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, who kicked it all off.
“We were jamming in the physio room one day and we decided to make a song about our captain Fiao’o Faamausili. From there, we had church group which was run by Linda Itunu and we would sing Sunday school songs. There was about 12 of us in the church group and then that 12 became the band throughout the 2014 campaign.
Ngata-Aerengamate said from then on, the Band Ferns make up songs for birthday’s and milestones and they’ve become a huge part of the team.
“The coaches, management and rest of the team love to hear from the band at the end of a tour and we love to make everyone smile. On game day for the band, it’s a must that everyone has an instrument, whether it’s a saltshaker or spoons. Last year we went all out with proper instruments. I love the music, love the band and it brings us all together.”
Stay tuned to the Black Ferns social media channels for some Band Ferns content while in isolation.