Bowls players from the Gisborne East Coast Centre say local tournament organisers for the upcoming Aotearoa National Māori Bowls Tournament in February are bowling on the wrong bias by denying local players the opportunity to play.
The National Māori Bowls Tournament was meant to be the highlight of the year for these champion bowls players, but they've been told they're not allowed anywhere near the green because they're local.
Bowls player, Queenie Takurua believes, "They are trampling all over us. The elders who play this game of our elders, this is their game."
Tournament organisers are shutting out local players through a rule in the tournament constitution that does not allow locals to play, but the Aotearoa Bowls Board says the rule is very broad and is outdated.
ABB Board member Homai Uerata explains, "The world is changing, the people of this game are changing and we need to change the rules."
Local organisers wouldn't comment on camera, but they did say that players should be hosting instead of participating.
The players say by including local teams it will lift the low number of registered tournament players from 272 by around 100.
Something they say will boost an already struggling sport.
The Aotearoa Bowls Board will have the final say on this issue. They say they are taking it very seriously but discussions will be held before any decision can be made.