The NZU21 Māori men's hockey team has triumphed in their matches against the Queensland state side held in Gisborne this weekend.
Senior player Te Huatahi Edmonds (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Whakatōhea) says, "Stoked with the boys winning both games. This is the first time this team has won both matches in this contest so we're stoked."
He maintains that they won by working together as a team.
"Great skills within our side this year, a young side too, camaraderie was strong on the field."
Team member Matariki Tane Bennett (Te Arawa, Waikato Tainui) says, "The boys played well together. Even though we're all from different places, we worked as one from start to finish."
The players say there are a number of benefits to be derived from this contest, which began in 2003.
"Getting us Māori players together, there aren't many of Māori playing this sport so it's awesome," says Te Huatahi Edmonds Rangitauira.
Matariki Tane Bennett says, "To be able to play a team from another country with their different style, it's a great experience for all of us and them too."
There are other benefits in utilising Māori language on the field says Edmonds Rangitauira.
We taught the others who can't speak Māori so we could use Māori on the field.
The boys are looking forward to Māori Hockey National Tournament.
"Most of the teams will be gunning for the trophy so hopefully we can bring it back to the Bay of Plenty," says Edmonds Rangitauira.
Māori Hockey Nationals will take place over Labour Weekend.