Aaron Mauger has resigned as Moana Pasifika’s head coach the franchise has confirmed this afternoon.
Mauger will finished his two-year stint with Moana Pasifika at the end of this season. They are the only side with no hope of making Super Rugby Pacific’s playoffs after having lost all 11 of their games this season. They have two matches left.
Mauger said: “I love this team immensely and it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of this special journey for Moana Pasifika and broader movement for the Pasifika community. I have given everything for the cause in testing conditions but it’s now time for me to return home to my family and give my best back to Amy and my four beautiful children.
“There are some great people within the club, and I hope these gems can be retained to bring continuity to the further development of the club.”
Mauger said in a message to the team’s fans: "Your spirit and support have been hugely uplifting for the team in challenging conditions. Keep the faith and ride the waves with the team, they acknowledge and play for you every week."
Moana Pasifika's Chair La'auli Savae Sir Michael Jones said: “We accept Aaron's resignation and understand his decision to prioritise his family. We thank him for his dedicated work as Head Coach. Both in establishing the rugby management team from its inception and developing a roster of largely inexperienced players, with half the team having never played in a Super Rugby match prior to joining Moana Pasifika.
“This accomplishment is especially notable considering the disruptions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent storm weeks last year, and a tough 2023 season. Aaron's unwavering professionalism throughout his time with Moana Pasifika in steering our waka has been commendable."
Jones further acknowledged Mauger's role in nurturing and developing the team, saying, "Under Aaron's leadership, we have witnessed the growth and progress of our Pasifika players. His commitment to fostering their skills at a professional level has had significant impact and helped to unearth real talent. Last year, 27 Moana Pasifika players went on to represent their Pacific home nation, 13 in the ‘Ikale Tahi and 14 in Manu Samoa squads, for the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) in 2022."
Jones also expressed the Board’s determination to continue fostering talent and providing opportunities for aspiring Pasifika players, stating, "We remain committed to our mission of providing professional pathways for Pasifika people and continuing to nurture and develop players."
"We are truly grateful for Aaron's passion, hard work and professionalism during his tenure with Moana Pasifika, We wish him all the best in his future endeavours, and we are confident that the strong foundation he has helped build will continue to move us forward," said Jones.
Moana Pasifika will now begin the process of searching for a new head coach to lead Moana Pasifika.