Moana Pasifika will farewell Levi Aumua at the close of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific competition as he today confirms his decision to sign with the Crusaders for the 2024 season. Aumua, a key player since the club’s inception in 2022, has represented Moana Pasifika in 20 games and scored 7 tries.
Chairman La’auli Savae Sir Michael Jones is proud that Moana Pasifika has played a pivotal role in shaping Aumua’s professional career, saying, “Levi is a remarkable player and his outstanding performance with Moana Pasifika has put him in high demand. We are thrilled to have played a key part in his impressive development within professional rugby over the past two years. In that time, Levi has demonstrated his immense talent and huge contribution to Moana Pasifika, amassing 1,292 game-time minutes for the club”.
This contrasts Aumua’s previous experiences with New Zealand franchises. During his time with the Blues in 2019, Aumua played only 46 minutes as a substitute in 4 games, while with the Chiefs in 2018 he was named in the team once but did not take the field.
“While we would have loved for Levi to stay, his journey exemplifies the critical role Moana Pasifika plays in providing a platform to nurture and develop aspiring rugby players, particularly of Pasifika heritage, to realise their potential as professional athletes, and showcase their abilities,” says Jones. “Simply put, because of Moana Pasifika more talented Pasifika players get the opportunity to play and realise their full potential”.
Jones affirms, “Moana Pasifika remains totally committed to creating pathways for players to represent their Pacific home nations while also assisting them in pursuing their ambitions and dreams. In 2022, 27 Moana Pasifika players represented Samoa and Tonga at the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC). Whilst we will always have one or two players who choose to pursue pathways other than Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, the vast majority of our players are committed to playing for the Pacific home nations, it is their dream and it means everything to them and they will always prioritise this meaningful and very special pathway”.
“While Levi’s blockbusting talent will be missed next year, it gives other Pasifika players the same opportunity for professional development that he has had. As an alumni, Levi has only our best wishes and support and his Moana Pasifika family and supporters will be following his career with huge interest”.
Born in New Zealand and with Fijian and Samoan heritage, Levi Aumua holds a unique position to potentially represent four nations, having also moved to Australia with his family at the age of 9.
Reflecting on his time with Moana Pasifika Aumua says, “It is an incredible honour to be part of the Moana Pasifika family, I have loved my time with the club. My teammates have become like brothers to me. I always wanted to make my parents proud, and I was able to represent both my Samoan and Fijian heritage under the Moana Pasifika banner.
“In my career I have been lucky enough to play all over the world, but in recent times my desire to try to play for the All Blacks has intensified. At the end of last year, I got a small taste with the All Blacks XV which only strengthened my hunger to play for the All Blacks.
“With this in mind, I have decided to commit myself to the Crusaders for the next two years, a group I know well from my time with the Tasman Makos.
“For now, my focus is on finishing the season strong with Moana”.
Aumua plays for the Tasman Mako in the NPC, clocking up nearly 50 appearances for the Nelson-based side over two stints, the first between 2017-2019, the second from 2021 onwards.
In 2022, Aumua was selected for the All Blacks XV to play their northern tour in Dublin and London. He will commence a two-year contract with the Crusaders in 2024.See all news