New Zealand Hoops – Q&A With Arielle Williams-Mackey

📷 Supplied

What is your full name and where are you from?

He uri au nō Te Poho o Rāwiri Marae

Nō te hapū o Ngāti Oneone

Nō te iwi o Te Aitanga a Hauiti, nō Ngāti Porou whānui anō hoki 

Ko au tēnei, ko Arielle Lenadean Maharata Williams-Mackey 

Why did you choose the game of basketball? 

I choose the game of basketball because I love it. Growing up my family played multiple sports and basketball was one of them but they never forced me into playing, it was my choice. 

What schools did you attend and what were your achievements and highlights?

Due to some of my family members working commitments I had to move around quite a bit growing up. When I was year 7 and 8 I attended Hillcrest Christian College on the Gold Coast, where one of New Zealand basketball greats Pero Cameron coached. He along with Derrick Rucker started my basketball development when I first started playing at 12/13. 

As I started to develop more I was put into the national performance program (NPP) where Leonard King was our high performance coach. That was an awesome opportunity to be apart of and I learnt so much from it and the older players who were also involved in the program.

Some highlights through my journey so far includes winning state championships in Queensland, representing Queensland, representing New Zealand, being involved in high performance programs such as NPP and also the WNBL Melbounre Boomers academy squad. 

You are a role model for young women, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?

My advice to them would be to enjoy playing basketball for you and have fun playing it. I think too many parents put pressure on kids to excel and have high expectations, but if you purely don’t like playing basketball yourself then don’t play 😊

What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career? 

My ultimate highlights so far would have to be representing my country. When I play for NZ it’s more than just playing for myself. I’m representing my whanau, my friends and my ngati porou Iwi.

My Whakapapa, drives me and that is what inspires and motivates me to compete in this environment and life. 

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

My biggest influence in basketball and in life in general would be my parents. Seeing them sacrifice not only for myself but my older siblings to ensure we have the best opportunities and teaching all of us to work hard in whatever you do, pushing us to set high goals for ourselves and to dream big, being good people and once you commit to something you commit all the way. My parents are extremely supportive and honest and that is what  influences and motivates me even more to become successful in everything I do 

Where do you see women’s basketball in the next five years? 

For Women’s basketball in the next 5 years I hope to see more development camps to be run around New Zealand to show the pathways and opportunities kids can have through basketball and many other sports. In December my uncle Troy Para is helping to coordinate our basketball clinics from hicks bay to Kaiti/ Gisborne 

I will be travelling with a team of coaches to implement some basketball clinics in  my Ngati Porou Rohe. We want to help build skill base and to encourage as many young athletes to work hard at school and look at pathways to the NCAA college scholarships, set goals and dream big.

Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?

That’s a tuff question. There have being many great New Zealand women’s basketball players overtime. For me I would have to say Stella Beck. I grew up watching her play for the Tall ferns and loved how competitive she was. It was an awesome opportunity to learn off her in the Tall ferns camp and getting to know her more off the court. She is one of my role models I look up to and I enjoyed playing with her. 

Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player in New Zealand?

Pero cameron. He was a terrific player and was very versatile. He is a great coach, really great communicator and builds you up as a player and person. He is Māori and represents all of Aotearoa on a World stage, he is also in the Fiba Basketball Hall of Fame. The Cameron whanau have given so much to Basketball in NZ. 

Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned? 

I love my kyries.

You are played in the Showcase on August 1st, what was it like to be apart of that experience? 

That was an awesome experience to be apart of. For me it was about developing and learning off all the older senior girls. I enjoyed learning new things and getting to know everyone more during the camp. 

📷 Supplied

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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