Far north rugby league move towards independence

By Raniera Harrison
  • Northland

The five tribes of the Far North are currently mulling over the future of Māori league in their region. Representatives from across the region gathered at Kaitaia to discuss separating from the current governing body, Northland Rugby League.

Selecting processes will see a new competition established in the Far North.

According to the Far North Rugby league spokesperson Hone Harawira the teams are annoyed at the distance they have to travel to play, “They do not agree with the board dictating to them how operations should be managed.”

This weekend Māori league officials met in Kaitaia to discuss a way forward after the discussion to split from the Northland Rugby League body.

“It's something about us as Māori we want to be able to take ownership of our own destiny, and that's probably the main reason we've decided to come and form our own competition” says rugby league advocate Dion Akuhata.

These clubs say that the Northland Rugby League officiating body does not have relevance to them in the north.

“There are nine clubs here at the moment. That's more than Northland Rugby League” says Mr Harawira.

It was also discussed how they would be self-dependant after separating from the national body.

John Tahana from Te Rarawa says “There are a few consortiums here that do a few funding for this sort of thing, and we'll look in those areas too.”

Te Kumehana Patrick believes the goal is achievable, “I think before the money, we need the mana, and then the rest will come.”

Asides from money, the ultimate goal is clear, to focus on the future of rangatahi.

According to Mr Akuhata the collective aim is to branch out to other sports, “Ultimately we will grow, and we will start looking at other codes, not just rugby league.”

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