What is your full name and where are you from?
My name is Akiene-Tera Reed and I am from Tauranga Moana (Ngati Ranginui / Ngai Te Rangi) and New Orleans, USA.
Why did you choose the game of basketball?
I played multiple sports growing up and I chose basketball because it was the sport that gave me the most confidence and I had the most fun playing. I’ve been around the game since I was born. My mum used to play and coaches now and my dad refs so their involvement definitely created a deeper passion for basketball inside of me, compared to any other sport.
What schools did you attend and what were your achievements and highlights?
I went to Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Raki Paewhenua for primary school, Kowhai intermediate for intermediate and I spent two years at Westlake Girls High before ending high school in the States (at Anzar High School, CA and Life Center Academy, NJ). I currently attend Virginia Commonwealth University where I am in my last year doing a business degree. My highlights over this time have been playing for New Zealand and my achievements here at VCU.
You are a role model for young women, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
Basketball has so many opportunities and is a lot of fun to play but you have to really develop a love for the game because there are ups and downs and as with all sports, it is not easy and you will be challenged. If you love basketball, that will help you get over those obstacles/ challenges.
What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career?
This is a hard one because I have had so many highs in my career to date but every time that I get the opportunity to represent New Zealand is a highlight for me. I am also very proud of earning a Division I basketball scholarship.
Who has been your biggest influence in basketball?
My mother has been my biggest influence. I grew up around her as she played and as she transitioned from a player to a coach. She has already been through everything that I go through as a player and provides the best advice when I need it. She loves basketball and instilled that love for the game in me.
Where do you see women’s basketball in the next five years?
I think that there is going to be a lot more awareness and appreciation of women’s basketball and in 5 years I hope that the women’s game is getting the exact same opportunities, exposure and funding as men’s basketball. With the right support, I believe that the Tall Ferns can be a dominant force in Asia and become regular World Cup and Olympic qualifiers which is exciting for our game.
Who is the ultimate women’s player in New Zealand basketball?
That is a really hard one because I think that all the players have a different characteristic or trait that I admire in them. We have some great ballers and even better people.
In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
Being able to play basketball professionally (Europe and Asia) and being able to represent New Zealand at the Olympics or at a World Cup.
Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
I love all Kobes. Probably my favourite were the Kobe 7s.
You played in the Showcase on August 1st, what was it like to be a part of that experience?
I have been away for the majority of the last 8 years so it was great to be able to reconnect and also get to know some of the younger players that are coming through. It was also awesome to be able to play in front of family and friends, which is something that I do not get to do much.
If you have one piece of advice for your younger self, what would it be?