First National Rugby game refereed entirely in Te Reo Maori

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

For the first time a National Rugby game has been refereed in the Māori language.

The move is part of a tribute by the Bay of Plenty Rugby union to Māori for their contribution to the game.

Māori referee Mate Samuels (Ngai Te Rangi) has always loved rugby but before that, he loved speaking Māori.  

“The main thing is to continue on with it that's the main thing for me even if you don't know some of the words or you are not confident, the main thing is to continue on with our Māori language, let the world hear it.”  

Samuels always knew at times the pace would be quite fast and was concerned the boys may not understand his refereeing. 

“I would say to them, take note of my hand movements we had some issues but they were not major ones.”

The game was dominated by the National Māori U18 Development squad who were up against an in-experienced Te Waiariki U19.

Matangireia Yates-Francis of Te Waiariki U19 says, “The refereeing was interesting some of the calls I was sort of lost on but overall it was good.

Rameka Poihipi of the National Māori U18, “My Te Reo isn't very good, so I didn't really understand and much as I should Nah it's good to embrace the cultural and it's all good.”

Waiariki U19 were defeated by National Māori U18 Development team the final score was 102 - Waiariki nill.

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