Now in its fifth year, organisers of the Northland secondary schools kī-o-rahi championships say this traditional game is now fully recognised sport.
Bonus points were up for grabs to those teams speaking Māori and practising their culture on the kī-o-rahi field.
Kī-o-rahi facilitator Tukaha Milne says, “Our whole outlook has returned to our own world and the benefits we can derive from these games and pastimes and to instil in our children a love for their own world. Kī-o-rahi is one such game that has grown in recent years to the point where we now have a national event.”
There are nine secondary schools at this event all vying to represent Northland at the nationals.
Sport Northland Manager Leela Hauraki says, “Taitokerau are improving every year and I always say it's about first and foremost the wairuatanga the mana and all the things that we value as Maori to hold true to those and the flash jumpshot and side steps will come.
“Our inter-tribal battles have now moved to the sports field and the performing arts. While there'll be no return to tribal warfare, we can still compete through these traditional games.”
Te Kura Kaupapa o Kaikohe took first place honours with Bay of Islands College coming second and Okaihau College take third place. Organisers say the recognition this traditional game now receives is a victory for all.
“To me, because the children love these games so much we are all winners because we are reviving the true Māori spirit within sport.”
These teams will represent Northland at the next year's nationals.