This year’s touch competition has kicked off in Whakatāne today.
Wairere, is one of the competition's top teams. Today they took the opportunity to commemorate Chase Ngawati, one of their former players, who passed away from cancer last year.
The team has also introduced some new players along with a touch of new cultural flavour to the mix.
According to Whitiaua Black, “We've focused on practicing our Māori culture as well. So, every morning we wake up and acknowledge everyone through oratory and prayer, and we also honour our past player who died to cancer, Chase Ngawati.”
Reyce Allan is one of the founding members of Wairere, who appeared at their first ever NZ Touch Nationals six years ago.
“I've started to lead our brothers from the back and they call me dad," says Allan.
Wairere will compete in 7 matches and hope to take the title like every other team in the Whakatane Touch Tournament.