She’s one of New Zealand’s rising netball stars and just as her career is heating up, so is her love life!
Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic defender and Silver Fern hopeful Georgia Tong has found her keeper in fiancé Raniera Takarangi, who dropped to one knee in a romantic summer proposal.
The keen rugby player, who has represented both Waikato and Southland, says he always knew that one day they would be husband and wife, but their busy sporting careers meant the timing was never right – until he was struck by a revelation.
“Late last year, I was flying back to Invercargill after playing a game of rugby in Northland and I’m not sure quite what happened, but I just suddenly had this feeling that now was the right time for us,” Raniera reveals. “Back then, I was based in Southland for rugby and Georgia was in Hamilton, and I’d had enough of having this distance between us.”
So the 27-year-old hung up his rugby boots and moved to be with his soulmate, all the while planning the grand proposal. He called on Michael Hill jewellers to design a simple diamond engagement ring, set in a white-gold band, knowing his bride-to-be wouldn’t want anything too “out there”.
Raniera’s opportunity to ask Georgia’s father Simon for his blessing came the day he left Invercargill for good. The netballer picked him up from the airport, but had inadvertently spilled oil on the car engine when she’d filled up on the way.
“The car started smoking,” Raniera explains, “so I used that as an excuse to stop in at her dad’s place and get him to check the engine.”
Huddled under the car bonnet with his future father-in-law, Raniera made his play. “I was stumbling over my words a bit, but then he just started smiling and said, ‘Of course’, and gave me a hug.”
It was, he jokes, “almost more nerve-wracking than the proposal itself”!
The talented halfback then arranged for his family, including Mum Lesley, Dad Daniel, sister Riria and her partner Aaron, to get involved by organising a faux birthday brunch for his mum in Taranaki. He and Georgia drove down from Hamilton, then with everything in place for the next day, the couple went to bed.
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