Tag Tounament a whānau affair

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Junior National Tag Tournament took place this weekend at Ngāti Ōtara Park in Auckland.

Summer sports are well underway and Tag is on the rise.

Event Organiser Claude Iusitini, "It's a minimal contact sport so with all the recent concussion issues you're having with the rugby union and league, we're finding parents are attracted to this game, an oval ball game where it's minimal contact."

The competition caters to children from as young as 8-years-old to youth aged 18.

"You've got to pass the ball before you get tagged, you've 6 plays to score a try, the team defense has got to stop the play by pulling the tag off the attacking player, and wherever they pull the tag off that attacking player it marks the spot where they have to play the ball."

This is first Junior National Tag tournament, the competition has drawn over 120 teams from across the North Island. Event organiser Claude Iusitini says it's a game for everyone.

"It's certainly grown very quickly in a short amount of time we're chasing our tails to be honest but such is the popularity of the sport because of the fact that it's a very inclusive sport for all body types."

Savannah Lee Mātua is now passing her skills on to the next generation as a coach.

"This is their time to play, we're here to support."

She says Tag is a sport which brings families together.

"This is one of way in which we can help our youth in the South."

A rising star of the sport, Tigerlilly Kuramāhukihuki O'Donnell-Russell, (Rongowhakaata, Te Atiawa) says, "My mum wanted me to play for Savannah because I really enjoy TAG".

Iusitini predicts the competition will grow to be twice as big next year.