Josiah Maama appointed to fill new Director of Basketball role at Dilworth
Born and raised in Glen Innes, Auckland (of Tongan descent) and Co-Founder of Glen Innes Rise Basketball, Josiah Maama commenced as the Director of Basketball for Dilworth at the beginning of the year. The position is part of the school’s overriding strategy to develop a high-performance programme and culture in sport. Josiah will be involved in creating a clear strategic plan for basketball, incorporating a cohesive development programme across the three campuses. He will also be a Sports Coordinator, assisting the Director of Sport with running the sports programme at the school.
Josiah has spent the last eight years developing and coaching the Pakuranga College Basketball teams. In 2017, he co-founded Glen Innes Rise Basketball which he set up to provide a space for players who couldn’t afford private tuition, to develop their skills and craft as a basketball player. This programme has gone from strength to strength and now players come to GI Rise to prepare for NCAA (American University), Australian National Basketball League (Breakers, Hawks, Phoenix), New Zealand Basketball League and more. Josiah has also coached Auckland and New Zealand Age Group teams, New Zealand Basketball League teams and has been an Intern Coach for New Zealand Breakers.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your passion for basketball?
Basketball was a bit of an accident for me. One day when I was a student at Pakuranga College, rugby training was cancelled due to hail, so I waited in the basketball gym until my mum could pick me up. The coach at the time thought I was a trialist and told me to get on the court. With no shoes and barely any basketball playing experience – I made the team in my bare feet. From then on, basketball became a special part of my life and in some ways, that moment has taught me to embrace new opportunities and adventures head-on (whether I have my shoes on or not).
Josiah Maama (left) with brother Sione Maama (right) - both Co-Founders of GI Rise
What motivated you initially to work in education?
My mother has always worked in healthcare, particularly with the vulnerable and the elderly. Outside of her work role, our home, car and kitchen were always open to our school friends and teammates. Her support, particularly when it came to school sport, was a huge reason why me and my siblings embraced our education and schooling. She made a huge impact in not only our lives, but many others - whether it was driving them, feeding them or just cheering them on. She always reminded us that none of the athletic feats would matter without education and being a good person – keeping that balance. I know that in a space like education, there is huge potential for people like me to make an impact and use my skills as best I can to be a positive influence on youth in our community – just like her.
What attracted you to the Director of Basketball role at Dilworth?
The ethos and the reason why the school exists. I love that as staff, we all have the opportunity to help some amazing young men and their families. Dilworth is a school so unique and steeped with rich culture and a proud basketball tradition. Leaving Pakuranga College, somewhere special where I spent half my life, was never going to be an easy decision. This role as Director of Basketball at Dilworth is the only role I’ve considered seriously outside my previous one at Pakuranga College.
What do you hope to achieve in your role?
I hope and I’m confident that we will build a culture of good people first, who are amazing student-athletes – on and off the court. Dilworth has a rich basketball culture, and it’s paramount we pay homage to it, but also build on it and set new foundations for future success and sustainability. We want to build a program that attracts young student-athletes to come and be the best version of themselves, and in the end, leave our family as respectful, hardworking and genuine young men. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Why do you think it’s important for young men to be involved in sport?
Sport is an avenue to be creative and express yourself. It’s a place where friendships are made, and people are challenged to make decisions under pressure, aim and work to be better every day. Sport is an important part in the development and balance of a student and young man, and I enjoy that it’s a place to push yourself and compete. Most importantly, it’s fun.
What helps create a thriving sports culture at school?
Good people. Success is beyond the trophies and accolades in sport. When good people work in a good environment, with good support and resources, through a positive process and strategy - results take care of themselves. Sometimes good people lose the game but win the experience. I want to help build a sports culture that makes people in it proud to be part of it and people outside of our family – want to be part of it.