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Black Fern channelling late mum's spirit on road to stardom

For one Black Fern star, Mother's Day means more than it does for most.

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Ayesha Leti-I'iga is driven by the support of her late mother and grandfather. Source: 1 NEWS

For Ayesha Leti-I'iga, playing for family and whānau is not just one thing, it's the only thing.

One name looms larger than ever, her late mother Asolupe.

"I lost my mother in 2009, but I guess I know she's always with me," Ayesha said.

With her mother's spirit driving her on, Porirua-born Black Fern Ayesha is continuing to make huge strides in Wellington's rugby scene.

In yesterday's club match for Oriental Rongotai, she ran in five tries, the 11th time she has scored five or more tries in a single game.

Her overall tally now stands at 147 tries in just 58 games, a strike rate that kept her grandad busy before his passing in 2019.

"My grandpa did this thing where if I score a try he beeps the horn, so everyone knew him for that.

"If I score a try that's $10 a try. One game I scored seven tries and he said 'you're going to make me broke'."

Grandad may be in debt financially, but Ayesha remains indebted to him for the guidance that got her where she is today.

"My grandad says 'play with your heart and if you have nothing to give, take my heart with you and play with it'," an emotional Ayesha told 1 NEWS.

Heart, speed and strength. The perfect combination driving the Porirua powerhouse to stardom.