Young basketballer eyes future far offshore

The future's looking bright for Junior Tall Fern Leah Mafua - pursuing a US college scholarship in basketball, and a business degree that's focused on the sea.

Leah Mafua must feel like her ship has come in. The Junior Tall Fern is happy in her new life at Otero Junior College in Colorado, USA - playing basketball and studying business, her two great passions. And even if she decides a basketball career isn't for her, the teenager from the Hutt Valley knows she's found another future pathway offshore - in shipping. Yes, you read it correctly: shipping. “I’ve taken a big interest in shipping companies. I’ve found information around what the industry looks like, what kind of jobs there are, and how business can run on an international scale - it’s so interesting,” says Mafua, who's studying international business. Mafua will be at the junior college for two years and plans to transfer to a four-year university scholarship when her initial degree is complete. Concentrating on the education opportunities in the US was inspired by Mafua’s older brother, Samuel. He was the first in their family to get into basketball and gave his sister sound advice from the beginning.