Topic: Rugby League

NZRL retracts to support NZ Māori Rugby League junior league carnival

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A sign of relief from the NZ Māori Rugby League chairman - he's regained support from NZRL for his junior league carnival this weekend.

"This is 29 teams, 580 kids from throughout the country, and its a chance to come together to celebrate being Māori, and using rugby league as the vehicle," says Devonshire.

Late last night, the NZMRL were notified by the national governing body, their junior carnival scheduled to be held at Hopuhopu this weekend would no longer be sanctioned due to financial strain, but Devonshire says the loss of the sanction means much more than money.

"Having a non sanctioned tournament it makes it a lot harder for the people and the logistics of it," he says.

The NZRL have recently bought in new policies that allow them to select which community league initiatives they would like to support financially and administratively.

Devonshire says, "We've never asked for any grants or hand-outs, or financial assistance from the NZRL, so we're quite self sufficient and self-funded and we have a busy but committed team that just work away in securing our own sponsors and our own funding."

Te Kāea requested an interview with the CEO of NZRL, Phil Holden, to clarify the reasoning behind the initial stance but said he, "did not see the relevance of the matter at this time."

Since then, Te Kaea has learnt NZRL will indefinitely continue support of Māori rugby league events.

Devonshire says, "We're not going to go away, we're here for our rangatahi, our senior tournaments have been going since 1993."

Despite the good news just coming in, the chairman realises the relationship between the two factions needs a lot of work.

"We'll sit down at the table and work through the issues with them, but in this case in this instance its all about the kids," adds Devonshire.

580 Māori youth expected to descend upon Hopuhopu this weekend, now, with the sanction of the NZRL.