Though Ieremia came to New Zealand in his teens and started playing representative rugby with Wellington as a 21-year old midfield back in 1992 it was to his native Samoa that he gave his first allegiance. He played internationals for Samoa during the 1992-93 season and was on the tour of New Zealand in 1993, playing in seven matches and for Manu Samoa against the All Blacks at Eden Park in the first official international between the two countries.
But the following year Ieremia and the halfback Ofisa Tonu'u, as they were entitled to do at the time, changed their allegiances to New Zealand and both subsequently became All Blacks.
Ieremia's promotion was rapid for after the All Blacks had lost a two-test series against France in 1994 he was introduced for the three tests against the Springboks, playing at second five eighths with Frank Bunce, another who had been blooded by Samoa at test level, outside him at centre.
Ieremia was in the 1995 World Cup squad, but played only the pool match against Japan. For most of 1995 and 1996 the All Blacks' preference was for Walter Little as Bunce's partner and it was only an injury to Little that gave Ieremia his first extensive run as a regular test selection in 1997.
An injury during the 1998 Super 12 ruled him out of All Black selection that year. But he returned in 1999 and for the first part of the international progamme he was used mainly at centre but for the bulk of the World Cup later in the year he was back at second five.
In 2000 he was again an All Black first choice, mainly again as a centre. Ieremia, a cheerful, articulate personality, was a strong, incisive runner and at 1.87m and 100kg an imposing and powerful defender. He also had well developed skills and a solid boot. At his best, and when free from injury, he was one of the most consistently successful midfielders New Zealand rugby has had.
When he left New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2000 season to take up an overseas contract Ieremia had played 40 matches for the All Blacks, including 30 tests.
He was also extremely effective for Wellington in the NPC and for the Hurricanes in the Super 12, forming an effective midfield pairing with Jason O'Halloran. He was sorely missed by the Hurricanes when affected by injuries in each of the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
Ieremia played in 41 Super 12 games for the Hurricanes and the last of his 65 appearances for Wellington was in the 2000 NPC first division final when he came on as a replacement to share in the triumph over Canterbury.