Solonaima Maria Folau (née Tuta'ia; born 18 February 1987 in Tokoroa, New Zealand) is a retired New Zealand netball player. She played regularly for the New Zealand national netball team, the Silver Ferns.
Playing for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2009
Solonaima Maria Tuta'ia|
18 February 1987
Tokoroa, New Zealand
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
Mount Albert Grammar School
Blockhouse Bay Intermediate
|Married||27 November 2017|
Siliva Siliva (2nd cousin) |
Faifili Levave (Wellington Hurricanes)
|Playing position(s): GA, GS|
|2008–09||Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic||31|
|Last updated: 22 July 2019|
Folau was born Solonaima Maria Tuta'ia in Tokoroa on 18 February 1987, the daughter of Fuisami Tuta'ia, a forestry worker, and his wife, Niukini, a homemaker, who in 1983 had moved to New Zealand from Samoa. She was named for her grandmothers, Solonaima and Malia, and she began using her middle name when she entered school as her teacher had difficulty pronouncing her first name. Maria Tuta'ia was an attendee of Lynfield College but in the final year of it, transferred to Mount Albert Grammar School. At MAGS she became a captain of its first Premier Netball team, which under her command came fourth at the Upper North Island Secondary Schools tournament and New Zealand Secondary Schools' Championships respectively. In 2003 Folau was named in the New Zealand U21 squad and two years later she became part of the winning team that brought home the 2005 World Youth Cup from Miami. That year, she was called into the Silver Ferns team, making her on-court debut when the Ferns toured Jamaica. The Ferns career didn't last long and because of her height, 1.88 metres (6 ft 2 in), she was chosen by Auckland Diamonds to be their player.
Folau played domestic netball for the Auckland Diamonds during the National Bank Cup from 2005 to 2007. With the start of the ANZ Championship in 2008, she signed with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, partnering Irene van Dyk in the shooting circle. She played with the Magic for two years, before transferring back to Auckland to play with the Northern Mystics, starting in 2010.
During her senior international career, Maria Folau has won gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2009 World Netball Series, in addition to a silver medal at the 2007 World Netball Championships.
In the 2010 ANZ Championship, Folau was the first and only player to be sent off during the match against the Swifts for persistent breaking. This send off happened in the last two minutes of the match and she took no further part in that match.
She is renowned for scoring the crucial goals, such as in the gold medal match against Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and during the 2011 ANZ Championship season when she scored the winning goal in the dying seconds against the Magic.
In 2014, Folau was inducted into the Mt. Albert Grammar School Hall of Fame.
In 2018 after playing for nine seasons with the Northern Mystics she joined the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Australian Super Netball league for the 2019 season. Folau was the leading goalscorer for the Thunderbirds and won the club's best and fairest award, though she parted ways with the club at the end of the season.
In December 2019, Netball New Zealand announced that Folau had retired from domestic and international netball. She finished her career with 150 caps for the Silver Ferns, the second-most capped player for her nation behind Laura Langman.
Folau is married to the Tongan Australian rugby player Israel Folau. The two married in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales on 27 November 2017, in a private outdoor ceremony. She subsequently changed her last name from Tuta'ia to Folau.
- "Maria Tutaia: I don't need to be perfect". Now To Love. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Maria Tutaia and her goals". E-Tangata - A Māori and Pasifika Sunday magazine. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Profile: Maria Tutaia". TVNZ. 17 July 2006. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Maria Tutaia citation - Mount Albert Grammar School" (PDF). Mount Albert Grammar School. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- Johannsen, Dana (11 August 2009). "Tutaia leaves Magic to be close to family". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "2011 Silver Ferns profile: Maria Tutaia". 13 June 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- Richens, Matt (15 October 2010). "Silver Ferns reap Maria Tutaia's rewards". Waikato Times. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Maria Tutaia reflects on 'proudest moment' after making MAGS history". TVNZ. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Maria Folau leaving Northern Mystics after nine seasons, granted exemption to play for Silver Ferns". 23 August 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Sharpshooter Maria Folau joins the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2019". Adelaide Thunderbirds. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Maria Folau parts ways with Adelaide in Super Netball". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 October 2019.
- "New Zealand Netball Team named for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Silver Ferns legend Maria Folau retires". Netball New Zealand. 17 December 2019.
- "Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau share pictures from their wedding". Stuff.co.nz. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Squad". Retrieved 18 January 2019.