Touch is a growing sport and this year Touch NZ says there's more than 84,000 players around the country. Today Te Kāea headed to a development competition for the Upper North Island in Rotorua targeting kids who hope to one day represent New Zealand.
his is the biggest touch tournament in New Zealand, catering for U9s, U11s and U13s age groups.
Organiser Ira Te Kani says, "This is the foundation of the sport. This is where it all starts - coaches, managers, players they all begin here."
With 84 teams in the tournament, this Auckland team aims to make the finals for their grade.
Nikora Erima (Ngāpuhi, Waikato, Tainui) says, "We are an U13s open. The majority of our players are 11 or 12 years old but their minds and skills are very mature for their ages."
This touch event covers the Northern, Auckland, Counties-Manukau, Waikato, Thames and the Bay of Plenty regions and helps develop the game.
Erima says, "Fitness, lifting the health not just of a few but all of us. It's a very spiritual game for Māori."
Rotorua has hosted this tournament for the last five years and will bid again to be next year's hosts.