A sixth consecutive win for Waiuku in the Junior rugby section at the Coronation in Ngaaruawaahia, defeating Raungaiti Marae to return home with the Te Hiku o te Ika a Māui Shield.
Waiuku captain Kowhai Nepia says “It was choice to come down and play the game, we love this game, we love coming down here to play against māori”.
Kowhai Nepia is the most successful captain to lead Waiuku. He has held the leadership role for eight years but admits it hasn't been an easy task. The shield was first played for in 1960. It wasn't until the eighties that Waiuku first won.
Kowhai Nepia says, ““It feels really good, we come out here and try and win the Shield or even just play the game and to have numbers turn up today that was a bit of a struggle I was sitting down there at about half past ten and the brothers start rolling up”.
Waiuku won the Te Hiku o te Ika a Maui Junior Rugby Shield again in 2011 and has remained defending champions since. Waiuku proved strong for Raungaiti Marae with the final score 38 - 12.
Kowhai Nepia says, “We get to come down and play after our fathers and after their fathers, they had the Shield it must have been about eighty-four (1984). It’s on here and we try to come back and carry it on”.
Koroneihana Sports organiser Heremaia Samson confirmed Hiona Marae will challenge for the shield next year.