Kahuku’s Ruanui Winitana, a senior guard on the basketball team, has left the school after helping the Red Raiders to a runner-up finish in the Division I state tournament, according to his post on Instagram last week.
Winitana was headed back to his native New Zealand. A call to Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana for confirmation was not returned. But two other Kahuku sources confirmed that Winitana left Oahu during the school’s spring break week, March 17-25.
On social media, Winitana wrote, “Sad to say that I’m gonna leave this beautiful place and island of Hawaii to return back home to New Zealand. Have developed some great relationships with some pretty special people here over the last 6 months… love the people culture and community. This isn’t a goodbye but a simple see you later. #RR4L.”
On Feb. 16, Winitana and the Red Raiders lost 64-37 to Punahou in the D-I state championship game.
Last year, Daniel Fotu, another native of New Zealand, went back to his home country at the conclusion of basketball season after leading Kahuku to the Division I state title.