Northern Kāhu guard Jaycin Tini was nine-years-old when she watched her mum Jody Cameron represent the Tall Ferns at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Now 27, Tini is flipping the script as she prepares to play under her at the Kāhu, with Cameron named to coach the northern franchise as part of the launch of the Tauihi Basketball League.
The mother-daughter duo have been on the same team before, winning the 2014 national Women’s Basketball Championship with the Harbour Breeze.
But this time it will be different as they reunite at professional level.
“I suppose in one regard you take it for granted because it’s been my life in sport and whether you’re playing with your family or not it’s just about the game,” Cameron said.
The College of Idaho alumni said playing under her mum adds extra drive to do well.
“It’s cool because I get that extra feedback from her after training. She treats me like everyone else but she does expect the best of me, so I’ve always got to be on,” she said.
Coming from a famous basketball family with her uncle being former Tall Blacks captain Pero Cameron and watching her mum’s journey, Tini said her mum set the standard not only for how to play on the court, but also how to be in life.
“Mum always told me to go off and pursue other things and find out about myself and what I like outside of basketball.
“She also chased her goals and never let anything stop her from achieving them, so I admire her for that and I try to take that attitude on as well.”
As they prepare for the inaugural Tauihi season – which tips off on June 29 after it was announced earlier this year by Basketball NZ to raise the women’s game in Aotearoa – they’re able to easily switch from mum and daughter to coach and athlete.
“We live and breathe basketball in our family but we know when we’re in basketball mode and when we’re relaxing being mother and daughter, having dinner or bantering and enjoying our time together,” Cameron said.
“We’re good friends away from the sport so it’s cool. My children are adults now so spending any time together as a family is always a blessing. Especially this day in age where it’s so busy and with Covid, I’ve been really lucky to have my children very close to me.”
While Cameron has given Tini many lessons over the years and will continue to do so in the upcoming season, she has also learned from her daughter as they push each other to be their best.
“Jaycin has a very open mind and she always used to say to me that my mind wasn’t open enough. I suppose when I was a young mother and you’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re trying to do your best, you can get closed off in some regard.
“She’s taught me a lot about listening and being patient and I owe it to Jaycin to keep me current. Keep me questioning my thoughts on everything from politics to how I go about speaking on things.”
The Kāhu play their first game against the Southern Hoiho on July 3 at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin.
They’re working on finding their unique identity and getting their flow together, with many of their players being teammates on previous squads.
“It’s so awesome and special to be a part of history. Looking back on it, when Mum was my age they were playing and training for free and doing things to get the game to this point,” Tini said.
“Now I get to be a part of doing more to expand the game for the future generations to come.”
As for what people can expect to see from the Northern Kāhu on the hardwood, Cameron believes they will bring speed and an athletic brand of basketball.
“The Kāhu bring diversity in the range of skill set, a high calibre of athleticism and a very fast-paced game.
“These girls are very ambitious and are all striving to improve so it’s exciting and I hope they enjoy it.”