'Incredible': NZ family travel to US to surprise college student with emotional haka
Te Ao Maori
Te Ao Maori

'Incredible': NZ family travel to US to surprise college student with emotional haka

“Family is everything."

The whānau of Brigham Young University basketballer Kaylee Smiler flew all the way from Aotearoa to Utah to perform a powerful haka for the college student on her senior day.

After an incredible game of ball, BYU honoured their senior students, but it was Kaylee who received the biggest honour as she was reunited with her loved ones.

In a clip of the special moment, Kaylee stood in shock as family and friends, including former Tall Blacks star Paora Winitana, launched into a powerful haka.

With her hand over her mouth in shock, Kaylee burst into tears as her teammates surrounded her and members of the crowd watched on.

“Family is everything,” the BYU women’s basketball team posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

People naturally flooded the comments with messages in awe of the love and support Kaylee received.

One person wrote: “Tears of joy for that young woman. How could you not be successful in life with a family like this?”

“Well deserved!!  You have been and I'm sure will continue to be a wonderful example for all of us,” wrote another.

While a third said: “Incredible!! What a perfect surprise!!”

According to Bnn, The Hamilton-born wahine headed to BYU back in 2019 and since then has become a star player on her team, making starts in 58 of her last 60 appearances.

“Smiler has also been a cultural leader, sharing her Māori heritage with her teammates and the broader BYU community,” they wrote.

Kaylee and the Cougars walked away with a victory of 64-54 against Houston.

An incredible memory for the young athlete!