General Hiraka Waitai-Haenga

Full Name
Hiraka Waitai-Haenga
  1. 🇳🇿 New Zealand
  1. Centre
Warriors Years Active
  1. 2024
Hamilton Boys High School
Signed From
Hamilton Boys High School




2019 - Waikato Roller Mills
2019 - Roller Mills Tournament Team
2022 - Hamilton Boys High School 1st XV
2023 - Waikato Chiefs U18
2023 - NZ 1st XV National Champions
2023 - World School XV Champions
2023 - NZ Maori RU U18

HBHS 1st XV on top of the world in Thailand

Nigel Hotham — November 16th, 2023

Coach Mr Nigel Hotham reports on our team's triumphant exploits in Thailand in December, 2022.

On December 10th 2022, 26 1st XV players, Mr Kirkham, Mr Moorby, and myself flew to Thailand for the inaugural World Schools Rugby Festival. The tournament involved many of the best 1st XVs in their respective countries, including Millfield, Sedbergh and Trinity from England, St Michael's from Ireland, Cardiff and Vale from Wales, and Grey College from South Africa.

Our first game was against Odyssey XV and although the score ended at 64-0, our performance was well short of our normal standards. We were pleased enough to make it through to the semi-finals but were all well aware that we would need to improve hugely and quickly to be competitive in the games to come.

Drawing Millfield, the English champions, in the semi-final, was both a curse and a blessing. We were pleased to rate ourselves against the best team in England but also very wary that we hadn’t played a quality XV team since the Top Four final vs Napier, three months prior.

In an error ridden game, we eventually ground out a 14-0 victory but were disappointed to have left at least 20 points on the field, mainly from our own handling errors.

The night before the final against Grey College from South Africa, we met as usual and reminded ourselves of the importance of this game to our families and the school. We also celebrated a very special moment in our co-captain Aki Tuivailala’s 50th game for the 1st XV. A very rare achievement in schoolboy rugby, as a player must have played in the team for three years and been injury free to reach this milestone. As Aki spoke so humbly about his journey, received his award and a rousing haka from his team mates, everyone in the room was filled with confidence that tomorrow was going to be our best day.

The following morning wasn’t so great though as we woke to the news that eight players had fallen ill with food poisoning and had been up all night vomiting. Thoughts of the 1995 World Cup final between South Africa and the All Blacks swept through the coaches minds, although all players were still determined to play.

The final was a classic New Zealand - South Africa encounter. Playing into the wind in the first half, we had to rely on strong defence to hold out a very physical Grey’s forward pack. Just before halftime though, Alex Pitts-Brown finished off a long period of play to score in the corner and gave us a 5-0 lead.

In the second half, we finally put together some of our best rugby with Payton Spencer catching a perfect 20 metre pass from outstanding second-five Hiraka Waitai-Haenga, and finishing off one of our best tries of the season. Shortly after, Aki Tuivailala scored in the same corner and was quickly smothered by our supporters from England and Ireland. Final score, 22-10.

Winning the tournament, we had achieved our goal of gaining the unofficial World Champions title in 1st XV rugby for Hamilton Boys' High School.

Through sport, we were given the opportunity to visit a new country and culture, to share stories and make new friends with players and coaches from many overseas countries and to aspire to be the very best we could be ….Arete!

What will the 2022 season be remembered for?…

Maybe winning the Chief's Championship, The Top Four National title, retaining the Moascar Cup, winning both the Super 8 and Condor National 7's tournaments...

But I think this team will mainly be remembered as a team that didn’t know how to give up, that found a way to win tight matches (far too many close ones for the liking of our coaches and supporters), a team that trained and played XVs and 7s for more than a full year without a break and still cherished the time they spent together... a team of champions. Kia kaha.


Rugby: Hamilton Boys’ High win World Schools Festival Cup​

NZ Herald
18 Dec, 2022 11:39 AM
Hamilton Boys' High School celebrate winning the 1st XV Championships. Photosport

Hamilton Boys' High School celebrate winning the 1st XV Championships. Photosport

Hamilton Boys’ High can lay claim to being the best schoolboy rugby team on the planet after winning the World Schools Festival Cup in Thailand, beating South Africa’s Grey College 22-10 in the final on Saturday.

It is Hamilton Boys’ High’s fourth global schoolboy trophy, having previously won the Sanix World Rugby youth tournament three times in 2010, 2011 and 2014. (The Sanix tournament was last played in 2019 before the COVID pandemic.)

Elite schools from New Zealand, England, South Africa, Ireland, Wales and Fiji contested the World Schools Festival at The Pattana Sports Resort in Thailand.

Hamilton Boys, the reigning New Zealand schoolboy champions, had earlier ruthlessly disposed of England’s Millfield 14-0 in the semifinals.

Grey College, from Bloemfontein, are widely considered to be one of the world’s powerhouses of schoolboy rugby and advanced to the final by claiming a last-gasp victory over back-to-back Welsh champions Cardiff and Vale College on Thursday.

But they were well beaten by Hamilton Boys.

Playing into the wind, Hamilton eked out a 5-0 halftime lead through sub Alex Pitts-Brown brilliantly dotting down in the corner under pressure. Further tries to Payton Spencer and co-captain Aki Tuivailala, and a Spencer penalty took them out to a 22-0 lead before Grey scored two late consolation tries.

HBHS World Schools Festival Cup final squad: 1 Raharuhi Palmer, 2 Tom McCarthy, 3 Will Martin, 4 Christian MacEwan, 5 Tama Hodgson, 6 Liam Sturm, 7 Liam Anderson, 8 Oli Mathis, 9 Mac Russ, 10 Wyndham Patuawa, 11 Zach Coffey, 12 Hiraka Waitai-Haenga, 13 Aki Tuivailala, 14 Caelys Putoko, 15 Payton Spencer.

Substitutes: l6 lnga Kokohu, 17 Breyton Legge, 18 Jake Rabarts, 19 Josh Syme, 20 Jamie Brewer, 21 Patty Kailahi, 22 Mitch Swann, 23 Alex Pitts-Brown, 24 Dupre Marshall, 25 Kurtis Hana, 26 Rangiwai Lunjivich.

Head Coach: Nigel Hotham

October 07, 2023


After a valuable week of learning at the University of Waikato Chiefs U18 Development Camp, players will face the Blues U18s to test their skills. The games will kick off at 12pm Saturday 7 October at St Pauls Collegiate, spectators are welcome.

Chiefs Team Clarke to face Blues Maungakiekie
Kick off: 12pm
1. Ryan DUNN Tauranga Boys' College
2. Tevita VEATUPU VAEA St John's College
3. Harold ROUNDS Rotora Boys' HS
4. Jack RUSKE St Paul's Collegiate
5. Daniel LAGALAGA-SLADE Manurewa RFC
6. Liam STURM Hamilton Boys' HS
7. Hohepa CHANDLER (c) Tauranga Boys' College
8. Jack GALLON Hamilton Boys' HS
9. David KAMA Wesley College
10. Hone MATHIESON Te Kuiti HS
1. Wesley CURULALA St John's College
12. Judah DRAIVA Tauranga Boys' College
13. Noah JOHNSTONE Tauranga Boys' College
14. Conrad JACKSON St Paul's Collegiate
15. Wiremu BAILEY Rotorua Boys' HS
16. Preston SYKES St Paul's Collegiate
17. Loshaunce LEASO Karaka Rugby Club
18. Nichaiah BOYNTON St John's College
19. Jacob GILBERT Rotorua Boys' HS
20. Liam MCPHERSON Hamilton Marist RFC
21. Kade SU'A St John's College
22. Aidan SPRATLEY Tauranga Boys' College
23. Ollie FRANCIS Tauranga Boys' College
24. Jimmy PENDER Greerton Marist RFC
25. Hunter MAXWELL Waiuku College
26. David LEWAI Taupo Nui-a-Tia College
27.Brayden NIELSON New Plymouth Boys' HS
28. Kaea CRIBB St John's College

Chiefs Team Messam to face Blues Maungawhau
Kick off 1.30pm
1. Apai MA'U HINKES Wesley College
2. Kaleb TAPARA St Peter's School
3. Faauma KUPITA Tauranga Boys' College
4. Dylan ETI St Peter's School
5. Lachlan STEVENS Tauranga Boys' College
6. Lenz MORUNGA Manurewa RFC
7. Thomas SETITAIA Wesley College
8. Joey TAUMATIENE (c) Wesley College
9. Halen KING St John's College
10. Daniel TICKLEPENNY Hamilton Marist RFC
11. Kurtis HANA Hamilton Boys' HS
12. Hiraka WAITAI-HAENGA Hamilton Boys' HS
13. Nganatatafu VAKE Rotorua Boys' H5
14.Olly GUERIN Hamilton Boys' HS
15. Maloni KUNAWAVE Rotorua Boys' HS
16. Will HADLEY St Paul's Collegiate
17. Raharuhi PALMER Hamilton Boys' HS
18. Liam VAN DER HEYDEN Hamilton Boys' HS
19. Aisake VAKASIOULA Tauranga Boys' College
20. Oli MATHIS Hamilton Boys' HS
21. Micah FALE St John's College
22. Charlie SINTON Tauranga Boys' College
23. Rangiwai LUNJEVICH Hamilton Boys' HS
24. Landen MONKS Tauranga Boys' College
25. Ezekiel KOLO University of Waikato

Ritchie HARRIS
Aiden KUKA
Cameron MOORBY

Mickey TAHERE (Aunty)