Moce mada Noa | Friends bid farewell

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Namosi and Marist Seahawks women’s rugby players carry the casket of Elenoa Kunatuba after her funeral service at Wainivula Methodist Church, Nasinu yesterday. Picture: JOHN CHETTY

Known by those she was close to as ‘Noa’, dad Tevita Kunatuba in an emotional service filled with players from rugby background, said he raised a tough and determined Elenoa.

Following a dream about women’s rugby and a vision to change perspectives and mindsets, Tevita said his daughter, no matter the obstacles she faced or the criticism she went through, stuck around.

She was a former Fijiana rugby player and Namosi women’s rugby head coach.

She was also hailed for her foresight and commitment as the founder of the renowned Marist Seahawks Rugby Club which has produced several national reps over the years.

Kunatuba was laid to rest at the Nasinu burial ground yesterday. She was lauded by rugby pundits local and abroad for her invaluable contribution to the growth of women’s rugby in Fiji and was the first local woman to achieve World Rugby Level 3 Coaching Accreditation, the first Fijian woman to coach other nations India, PNG and Tuvalu, the first to be seconded to NZ franchise, namely Waikato Chiefs, the first to be accredited to with World Rugby Educator and Trainer Licences and the first woman development officer for FRU and the Oceania region.

Fiji Rugby Union operations manager Sale Sorovaki said she was a dedicated and motivated woman who never backed away from a challenge.

“She had rugby in her blood, loved working hard but she always put her family first, she was our first ever Women’s Development Officer,” he said.

One of the most qualified women’s coaches in Fiji, Kunatuba’s passion for the sport and the fact that she raised many rugby stars will always remain her legacy.

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